Cannes Film Fest 2023: Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Zone Interest’ Is First Unqualified Hit of this Edition

‘Zone Interest’ Is the First Unqualified Hit of 2023 Cannes Film Fest

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: (2ndL to R) Producer Ewa Puszczynska, Sandra Hüller, Director Jonathan Glazer, Christian Friedel and Producer James Wilson attend the "The Zone Of Interest" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 19, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)
Jonathan Glazer delivered the first unqualified hit of the 2023 Cannes Film Fest.

The Zone Interest, which is only the director’s fourth feature after “Sexy Beast,” “Birth” and “Under the Skin,” earned a six-minute standing ovation following its world premiere.

Austere and challenging, Glazer’s film 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.

“Thank you very much, Glazer told the crowd after the standing ovation. “I’m really overwhelmed by this. It’s a dream. To be a part of this with you, thank you.”

After Glazer’s short speech, the crowd cheered some more for about a minute.

Loosely based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Martin Amis, the film stars “Toni Erdmann” actor Hüller as the wife of Rudolf Höss, the Auschwitz commandant during the Holocaust.

The cast also includes Christian Friedel, Daniel Holzberg and Sascha Maaz.

It’s chilling and profound, meditative and immersive movie that centers on human darkness and examines it thoroughly. It’s an original movie that plays off our curiosity to see the unseeable and unthinkable.

It’s been a somewhat muted first few days of Cannes as the festival rolled out premieres for “Jeanne du Barry,” “Monster” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” among others.

While the appearances of Johnny Depp and Harrison Ford at the festival made headlines, it’s mostly been stars generating buzz and not the movies themselves.

“The Zone of Interest” has gotten the most rapturous response at Cannes so far.

For Glazer, The Zone of Interest marks his first time premiering a movie at the Cannes Film Festival.

The British director often has long hiatuses between his directorial efforts. Nine years separated “Birth” and “Under the Skin,” while it’s been 10 years between “Under the Skin” and “The Zone of Interest.” “Birth” premiered at the Venice Film Festival, while “Under the Skin” launched at the Telluride Film Festival.

A24 will release The Zone of Interest later this year, in time for serious awards considerations.