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The Zone of Interest (PG-13)

February 23 - February 29

February 23
February 29

Fri Feb 23 at 7 PM
Sat Feb 24 at 2 PM
Sat Feb 24 at 7 PM
Sun Feb 25 at 2 PM
Wed Feb 28 at 2 PM
Wed Feb 28 at 7 PM
Thu Feb 29 at 2 PM

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. Starring Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall).

⭐️ Nominated for 5 Academy Awards!
Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best International Feature Film, Best Sound, Best Achievement in Directing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

⭐️ Other Awards & Nominations:
Cannes Film Festival, 2023 – Grand Prize of the Festival Winner, Golden Globe Nominee – Best Motion Picture, Drama, Best Motion Picture, Non-English Speaking, and Best Original Score, Motion Picture.

Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes (In German with English Subtitles)

The Zone of Interest – Film Review by Christine Merser

I can hear you now. “Another concentration camp commandant movie? I’m out. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was the last straw!” I know. I know. But I promise you this is not that and it’s not something your thoughtful self can pass on by.

The acting, the script, the storyline (we are never in Auschwitz), the cinematography! I promise from the beginning to the end, you will be reminding yourself that you almost didn’t go, and thank God you read this and decided to override your refusal to see another film about Nazis.

Okay, let’s start with the cinematography. Cameras were set up all over the set and hidden, and the actors played out the scenes, walking through rooms and gardens to get to the next moment in the film. The result is an almost documentary feel to the film, and you will see actors that admitted to forgetting they were being filmed, who were allowed to deliver their lines at the moment they thought they were saying them, rather than when directed. It’s an extraordinary result. I know we will see this unique style of directing and filming in the years to come. Fun fact; the director and cinematographer were in a trailer on the other side of the fence in the garden. No camera people were with the actors when they were shooting. Other directors are slapping themselves that they didn’t think of it first.

The writing also takes us down roads never visited in film before, and we all know that this topic has been played again and again for decades. Our star, the commandant’s wife, is with her mother in the garden, showing her around. We are in a beautiful garden, and you can see the top of the camp buildings on the other side of a high fence, so you can hear the sounds of death, but you can’t witness them. Her mother glances over the fence and says, “I wonder if Mrs. X is in there.” Her daughter, who would prefer to not reference the other side of the fence at all, irritatingly says, “Who is Mrs. X?” Her mother answers, “the lady whose house I used to clean.” Drop the mic.

The film is based on a true story. Hoss, (not to be confused with Hess), was the longest-serving commandant at Auschwitz and was hanged after being found guilty in Nuremberg. He wrote a biography and accepted responsibility for his actions. His wife, not so much. She is played by Sandra Huller, a German actor, who said she would never play the role of a Nazi but knew she had to play this role once she’d read the script. She plays Hedwig Hoss with such surety, without an ounce of shame for her ability to not care about the backdrop of sounds that play out a whole other plot as we watch her live a life of luxury on the other side of death.

This film is up for Best International Film and Best Film. I think it will win for Best International Film but not for Best Film. Best Film is political, and millions are spent getting the votes, so it can’t compete. It deserves to be considered for Best Film. Every single element of this film is exceptional and new. If you love studying film, like me, you could spend the entire time in the theater marveling at the newness of the approach, the message, and the talent involved. If you like to go to the movies to watch stories unfold that stay with you, teach you something, and entertain you, you will not be disappointed.

Christine Merser, SCREEN THOUGHTS
Writer and recent Maine replant, has been a film reviewer for Screen Thoughts for the last ten years. Rated four stars and recently obtained by Spotify as one of their podcast series, Screen Thoughts houses her podcasts with other reviewers from the industry, as well written reviews. “I think that we humans are cemented in our point of view around explosive issues. Stories can change hearts and minds, especially when they are viewed in the darkened theater, without pushing their way into your point of view in a debate over dinner. I love going to the movies.”

Presented in partnership with Lincoln County News

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