Cannes Day 5: A Quiet Day Led by Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Zone of Interest’

After the Johnny Depp hubbub and “Indiana Jones,” Friday felt like a rest, of sorts

Jonathan Glazer
Jonathan Glazer (CREDIT: Getty Images)

The Cannes Film Festival rested on Friday after several high-profile days, including the opening night screening of the Johnny Depp-starrer “Jeanne du Barry” and Thursday’s first public screening of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” It’s no surprise, then, that lead-up to the weekend felt muted of sorts. (Though, expect the weekend to be intense considering Saturday has the first screenings of Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”)

If one film stood out it was Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest.” The feature marked a return for Glazer, whose last film, “Under the Skin,” came out a decade ago. His latest is drawing attention for its focus on a German couple living in World War II, their house right next to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

TheWrap’s Ben Croll gave the film high praise in his review on Friday saying, “While ‘The Zone of Interest’ uses the conventions of narrative fiction, it is more of an essay, engaged in the wider conversation of how – if it all – to visualize the Holocaust. Glazer’s choice to not aestheticize the camp — to not recreate violence on-screen –- is prescriptive, and made all the more stark by the inclusion of documentary footage of the present day site.”

Because of its subject matter, the film’s accompanying press conference drew a lot of attention. Glazer said of the movie, “I hope the film we’ve made is – it’s trying to talk to the capacity within each of us for violence. To try and show these people as people. Not as monsters.” Actress Sandra Huller also discussed playing the wife of a Nazi. “Of course, I felt a responsibility as a German to embody this woman,” she said. “There was no real way to do it right. It was never about being good about something. It had to do with presence and listening and being respectful to the people around us.” 

Producer James Wilson also explained, initially reported by Screen International, how it’s impossible to watch the film today and not look at the present. “As white Europeans or Americans through the accident of our birth, we were born into aspects of wealth that were gained through hundreds of years of enslavement of people who didn’t look like us – hundreds of years ago, so we’re conveniently distanced from that.”

Cannes Gets a Jump on Blockbuster Season

Cannes may be all about prestige features and future Oscar contenders but that’s no reason it can’t also act as a launchpad for a rather full summer movie season. As Variety reported, the Croisette is filled with reminders about upcoming blockbusters. The Carlton Hotel has a massive screen playing the “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1” trailer going on a loop and Sony is doing a “Gran Turismo” activation. Couple that with screenings of Disney’s “Indiana Jones” and “Elemental,” the latter the closing night film, and it looks like amongst the glitz and glamour there’s a desire to remind you to put on your flip-flops and hang out in a movie theater this summer.


“The Zone of Interest”

“About Dry Grasses”

“Four Daughters”

Check out TheWrap’s Cannes magazine here and all of our Cannes 2023 coverage here.