The WWII Film 'The Zone of Interest' is the U.K.'s International Oscar Submission

Sandra Hüller as Hedwig Höss holding her baby to smell a flower as Jewish bodies burn yards away in 'The Zone of Interest'

Sandra Hüller as Hedwig Höss in 'The Zone of Interest'


The trailer for A24's The Zone of Interest finally arrived months after the film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and took home the Grand Prix and the FIPRESCI Prize. The World War II Holocaust film opened to rapturous reviews in France last spring, with reviews calling it "a portrait of the perpetrators" and a view of the Holocaust as it has never been seen. The film is billed as "loosely based on" the late Martin Amis' 2014 novel of the same name, a fictionalized love triangle set among the commanding officers at the Auschwitz concentration camp. However, reviews suggest it is less about the fictionalized story than a portrait of the real people the story it was based on.

Amis' The Zone of Interest is about Angelus Thomsen, the officer; Paul Doll, the commandant; and Hannah Doll, the wife of Paul Doll. The latter two were fictionalized versions of the actual commandant of Auschwitz during this period, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, who lived in a palatial estate just outside the walls of the infamous camp. The film removes the false names and focuses more on the home life of the Hösses and the massive amounts of denial they live in as they build a perfect family home next door to a mass murder site.

The trailer arrives only a few weeks after the U.K.'s British Film Institute announced The Zone of Interest would be the country's submission for the International Academy Award category. A film made by American company A24 and starring an all-German cast may sound like a strange submission; however, the movie was co-produced by Film4, Channel4's big-budget studio arm. Moreover, to be eligible, the film must be co-produced by a British company and predominantly filmed in a non-English language. The Zone Of Interest is mainly in German and Polish and was shot on location in Poland.

The synopsis is brief and rather blunt:

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.

The Zone of Interest stars German actors Christian Friedel (Babylon Berlin) as Rudolf Höss and Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall) as his wife, Hedwig. Johann Karthaus (SOKO Hamburg), Medusa Knopf (Hunt for the Bosses), and newcomers Luis Noah Witte, Nele Ahrensmeier, and Lilli Falk play their children Claus, Elfryda, Hans, Inge-Brigitt, and Heideraud.

The film was written and directed by Jonathan Glazer, who spent years researching the real-life Hösses after reading the novel. Martin Amis did live to see the finished film, passing away just after its debut at Cannes in 2023. James Wilson and Ewa Puszczyńska produced the film. Reno Antoniades, Len Blavatnik, Danny Cohen, Tessa Ross, Ollie Madden, Daniel Battsek, and David Kimbangi are executive producers, with co-financing by A24, Film4, Access Entertainment, and the Polish Film Institute.

The Zone of Interest will open in U.S. theaters on Friday, December 8, 2023, and is expected to arrive on streaming on Apple TV+ in early 2024.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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