Cannes film festival. The Zone of Interest. Martin Amis.

UPDATE – I posted this at 1 pm on Saturday. By nightfall, I read that Martin Amis had died.

I never watch coverage of the Cannes festival (televised daily on French TV), and I don’t know why. I should, because I love movies. I think it’s the pomposity of the red carpet that turns me off – all those strutting peacocks and barking photographers.

But listening to France Culture radio this cool, sunny morning while making a stack of pancakes and firing up the espresso machine, I learned of a new movie that everyone’s talking about:

The Zone of Interest is a 2023 German-language British-Polish period drama film written and directed by Jonathan Glazer, loosely based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Martin Amis. It was shot in 2021 in Auschwitz.

The Zone of Interest had its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2023.


The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.


Nazi Drama ‘Zone of Interest’ Is a Cannes Sensation With 6-Minute Standing Ovation (from Variety Magazine)

Glazer’s film is austere and challenging as it tells the story of the commandant of Auschwitz and his wife, who have created their dream home directly next to the concentration camp. The constant screams of prisoners, gun shots and smoke from the gas chambers haunt their paradise, but their indifference to such horrors creates a terrifying and sinister juxtaposition.

Below is a fascinating talk with the erudite and impeccably polite Martin Amis. Born in Oxford, England four years after the end of World War II, Amis is a novelist, essayist and satirist known for his virtuoso storytelling technique and dark views of contemporary society. Here, he discusses the origins of his book title, The Zone of Interest, the inexplicability of the crimes of Hitler and the German people, the literary life … and more.