Jonathan Glazer’s film “The Zone of Interest,” inspired by Martin Amis’ novel, delves into the disturbing reality of Rudolf Höss, Auschwitz’s commandant, who lived near the concentration camp with his family. The movie opens with a striking choice—an extended black screen. Glazer shares the intention behind this choice, offering viewers an auditory prelude to the film’s profound exploration of evil and indifference.
- The Symbolism of a Black Screen:
- The deliberate use of an all-black screen prompts viewers to engage their sense of hearing before sight, signaling a unique cinematic experience.
- Tuning Ears to the Unusual Soundtrack:
- Glazer aims to shift the audience’s focus from visuals to the film’s distinctive soundtrack, emphasizing the importance of sound in shaping the narrative.
- The Dual Track Soundscape:
- The film’s soundtrack includes not only traditional elements like dialogue and music but also a second track featuring haunting sounds from Auschwitz, creating a layered and immersive auditory experience.
- Highlighting Indifference Through Sound:
- The juxtaposition of the Höss family’s daily life with the sounds of Auschwitz underscores the theme of indifference, as they remain unperturbed by the harrowing background noise.
- Normalizing Horror Through Audio:
- The unique soundscape explores how individuals, both within the narrative and the audience, become desensitized to horror over time, normalizing the unthinkable.
- Immersive Experience of Evil:
- Viewers are encouraged to listen actively, experiencing the dissonance between the ordinary and the horrific, mirroring the characters’ ability to ignore the atrocities occurring nearby.
- The Power of Auditory Adaptation:
- The film challenges the audience to reflect on their own capacity to adapt to, or ignore, the presence of evil—a concept reinforced through the auditory elements.
- Sonic Exploration of Indifference:
- Glazer’s intentional use of sound serves as a tool to delve into the psychological and emotional aspects of indifference, unraveling the complexities within the narrative.
Why did Jonathan Glazer choose to open “The Zone of Interest” with a black screen?
- The black screen serves as a deliberate choice to prompt viewers to tune their ears before their eyes, preparing them for the film’s unique auditory experience.
What makes the soundtrack of “The Zone of Interest” unusual?
- In addition to traditional elements, the soundtrack includes a second track featuring sounds from Auschwitz, creating a chilling and immersive auditory backdrop.
How does the auditory experience contribute to the film’s exploration of evil and indifference?
- The soundscape highlights the indifference of the Höss family to the atrocities around them and invites viewers to reflect on their own capacity to adapt or turn a blind eye to evil.
What is the significance of the dual track soundscape in the film?
- The dual track includes everyday elements alongside haunting sounds from Auschwitz, creating a powerful contrast that reinforces the normalization of horror over time.
Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” challenges conventional cinematic approaches by leveraging sound as a potent narrative tool, urging audiences to confront the unsettling dynamics of indifference and the adaptability to the presence of evil.