“The Zone of Interest”: Everything to Know About the Holocaust Drama with 5 Oscar Nominations

Director Jonathan Glazer's film earned a Best Picture nomination and more Oscars attention

<p>Courtesy of A24</p> Sandra Hüller in "The Zone of Interest"

Courtesy of A24

Sandra Hüller in "The Zone of Interest"

The Zone of Interest landed major recognition with the 2024 Oscar nominations.

The German-language film, listed as a U.K. production that was filmed on location in Poland, earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. It also landed Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay nods for Jonathan Glazer, plus acknowledgments in Best International Feature Film and Best Sound.

The Zone of Interest also earned key nominations at the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards earlier this year.

Read on for everything to know about A24's The Zone of Interest, including how you can watch it prior to the 96th annual Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 10.

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<p>Courtesy of A24</p>

Courtesy of A24

Who is in 'The Zone of Interest' cast?

The drama stars Christian Friedel as Rudolf Höss and Sandra Hüller as his wife Hedwig Höss. (German actress Hüller is nominated this year for her other film, Anatomy of a Fall, for Best Actress.) The cast also includes Freya Kreutzkam, Ralph Herforth, Max Beck and Ralf Zillmann.

Friedel said portraying the real-life Nazi officer who oversaw the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II was an "intense" experience.

"We were there for three months, in Oświęcim, next to the camp, next to the original house. I was visiting the camp for the first time, as a human and as an actor too, which was really intense," he told Interview magazine. "The responsibility towards the victims was there. To be a German in this place, with this haircut, with this camera system. It was so intense to have these pictures in your mind, and to know what you are doing and to have to say some horrible lines."

"I was sitting in a cafe in Krakow. I was alone and I had one day off. Then, I had a panic attack," added Friedel. "My body, like in the movie, reacts and says, 'There’s too much darkness inside of you. Be healthy. That’s not good.' "

Related: Killers of the Flower Moon True Story: All About the Real Events That Inspired the Martin Scorsese Film

<p>Courtesy of A24</p> Christian Friedel and Sandra Hüller in "The Zone of Interest"

Courtesy of A24

Christian Friedel and Sandra Hüller in "The Zone of Interest"

Is 'The Zone of Interest' based on a book?

The Zone of Interest is written by British director Jonathan Glazer, adapted from the 2014 novel by author Martin Amis. It's inspired by the real-life Nazi officer Rudolf Höss and his family.

Glazer, known for movies like 2004's Birth and 2013's Under the Skin, told The Guardian that the "reason I made this film is to try to restate our close proximity to this terrible event that we think of as in the past."

"For me," he continued, "it is not ever in the past, and right now, I think something in me is aware — and fearful — that these things are on the rise again with the growth of rightwing populism everywhere. The road that so many people took is a few steps away. It is always just a few steps away."

What is 'The Zone of Interest' about?

The story, adapted from the 2014 novel by Martin Amis, is about the real-life Nazi officer Rudolf Höss, his wife Hedwig Höss and their five kids, who led their everyday lives at a house just outside of the Auschwitz concentration camp that Rudolf was in charge of.

The Zone of Interest depicts the German family's mundane daily activities, juxtaposed by the atrocities of the Holocaust happening just over the fence.

"There are, in effect, two films: the one you see, and the one you hear, and the second is just as important as the first, arguably more so," director Jonathan Glazer told The Guardian of deciding what to show onscreen. "We already know the imagery of the camps from actual archive footage. There is no need to attempt to recreate it. But I felt that if we could hear it, we could somehow see it in our heads."

The filmmaker added, "Even though you don’t ever see the horror, it is by far the most violent film I have ever worked on."

Related: Killers of the Flower Moon Star Lily Gladstone Makes History as First Native American Best Actress Oscar Nominee

<p>Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images</p> Director Jonathan Glazer on Oct. 20, 2023.

Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Director Jonathan Glazer on Oct. 20, 2023.

Where can I watch 'The Zone of Interest'?

The movie is currently playing in select theaters. It is not yet available to rent or own on digital. At some point, it will be available to stream on Max, as part of a recently announced deal for A24 films to live on the streaming service. It's rated PG-13 for "thematic material, some suggestive material and smoking."

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