THE ZONE OF INTEREST – Review by Susan Granger

How do you choose what movie to watch? Most people want to be entertained. Others want to be educated. British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer’s harrowing Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest – recipient of five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director – falls into the latter category. Loosely adapted from Martin Amis’ 2014 novel, it follows the seemingly mundane lives of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Hoss (Christian Friedl), his wife Hedwig (Sandra Huller) and their children who dwell in a comfortable home that’s adjacent to the notorious concentration camp in Western Poland.

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THE ZONE OF INTEREST – Review by Liz Braun

The Zone of Interest is a film centered on the domestic life of Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz. This is a timely and terrifying film directed (and co-written) by Jonathan Glazer, and loosely based on the novel by Martin Amis. It is beautifully made, profoundly unsettling, and it is rightfully heralded as one of the most important films of the year. The story looks at the daily lives of Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Huller), who are raising their children in a lovely villa right beside the camp — an idyllic setting with a beautiful garden and a river nearby where the children swim. The chimneys belching black smoke day and night are just a little thing in one’s peripheral vision. There is no arm’s-length remove provided here by either history or movie-making, and for the viewer, psychologically speaking, there’s nowhere to hide.

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THE ZONE OF INTEREST – Review by Maitland McDonagh

Both sensitive and slyly ambitious Rudolf Hoss (Christian Friedel) and his wife, Hedwig (Sandra Huller), thrive on order and for the former, that’s an ideal qualification for military life. Rudolf quickly rises through the ranks, while Hedwig dedicates herself to being a wife and mother to the two children she quickly bears, Hans and Inge… yes, one girl and one boy, a child to replace each parent. Hedwig keeps an impeccable house, cultivates an impressive garden in which both flowers and vegetables thrive and raising Hans and Inge. Their lovely house would shine in the most competitive American suburb, their dog is adorable… and they radiate an unspoken but clearly shared belief in their own perfection: One that’s based on fulfilling an almost comical ideal of partnership, parenthood and division of labor while the crematorium visible over their back wall is converting enormous numbers of other people into greasy smoke and ashes.

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: The Gotham Awards 2023 – Thelma Adams reports

The Gothams get out in front of the awards season as actors return to the red carpet, and stylists heave sighs of relief. On Monday night, November 27, while I was chugging Nyquil, the Gotham Awards unfolded at Cipriani’s Downtown in Manhattan. First awarded 32 years ago in 1991, the baby sister to the West Coast Film Independent Spirit Awards launched in 1984, the event’s original mission prioritized recognizing indies as opposed to Oscars. It’s since sacrificed some of its indie street cred with a slew of special awards to attract the big-name stars (Leo! Bobby! Penelope! Greta! Bradley! Margot!), exploiting the night’s current position as the first awards ceremony out of the gate.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 13, 2023: ANATOMY OF A FALL

Justine Triet’s engrossing French family drama/courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall expertly explores the subjectivity of memory and the complexity of marriage and parenthood. As the woman at the center of it all, Sandra Huller commands the screen, turning in a performance that’s by turns fierce, vulnerable, and calculated, ultimately raising as many questions as she answers about her character’s role in the titular fall and the events leading up to it.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Susan Granger

Golden Globe-winner as Best Foreign Film, Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall has a scandalous premise that should intrigue true-crime aficionados. The whodunit plot pivots around Samuel Maleski (Samuel Theis) a writer who dies suspiciously after falling from the upper floor of an Alpine chalet and is discovered sprawled in the snow amid a trail of blood from a deep cranial wound.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Loren King

The title Anatomy of a Fall, not to mention the striking US poster graphic of a prone body, brings to mind Otto Preminger’s 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder and Saul Bass’s iconic poster art. Although Anatomy of a Fall is just as riveting a courtroom drama, it’s an unconventional one. Director and co-writer Justine Triet keeps the viewer engaged but off-kilter and she adroitly layers surprises and ambiguity. That’s just right for a film about what’s heard but not seen; the fine line between reality and fiction; how memory might not be trusted; and how two people can recall the same events with shaded perceptions.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Leslie Combemale

Anatomy of a Fall is most fascinating in its representation of how women are demonized by succeeding, asking for what they want, and being uncompromising. Of the lead character, one of her defense lawyers says, “if she is guilty of anything, it’s of succeeding where her husband failed.” In Justine Triet’s fourth outing as director, she and co-screenwriter Arthur Harari create the character of Sandra as neither victim nor hero, but a woman full of faults and weaknesses, just like most people. It’s in the ways that she is perceived in court and by the public, however, that we see just how much her gender plays a factor.

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SPOTLIGHT October 2023: Sandra Huller, Actress of the Year

In a bit of casting kismet, two of the biggest films this year star the same actor: Sandra Huller. Huller was dubbed the “Queen of Cannes” last May after director Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall won the Palme d’Or and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest took both the runner-up Grand Prize of the Festival and the FIPRESCI honors. Huller, 45, stars in the courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall as a woman on trial for her husband’s murder. The film is a carefully structured moral conundrum about truth and perception, and all of it hinges on Huller’s performance . In The Zone of Interest, a Holocaust film unlike any other, she plays Hedwig Hoss, a homemaker enjoying the upward mobility that comes with being the wife of the Commandant of Auschwitz. What Huller does here is understated and difficult to describe, but the specificity in her work is such that you will swear you know what the character smells like.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Diane Carson

Writer/director Justine Triet’s intriguing Anatomy of a Fall demonstrates in complex, compelling ways the elusive, bewildering search for the truth behind a death. The multilayered intrigue kicks off early in the film as wife Sandra and Samuel’s vision-impaired, eleven-year-old son Daniel discovers Samuel lying bloody in the snow beneath their Grenoble chalet’s second-floor window.

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