Film School: The Zone of Interest (2023)

The Zone of Interest (2023) The Zone of Interest (2023)

How to convey horror with sound and a mirror.

First and foremost, let’s be clear and correct about what was actually said – unedited, undistorted:

In an interview with Screen Daily, director and co-writer Jonathan Glazer described The Zone of Interest as comprising two films – one “foreground”, the other “ambient” (the full article offers fascinating insights, in the director’s own words, into the pre-production and production processes):

The sound is the other film, and, arguably, the film, for me.

Jonathan Glazer, in Screen Daily

Hidden Cameras

First, a quick overview of the film’s extraordinary production process, which involved hidden cameras, isolated actors, and of course incredible sound design (via A24):

Isolated Actors

Sandra Hüller and Christian Friedel on the unique production process and its effect upon them as actors, and as humans (via A24):

Sound Design

With visual images, you process it; with sound, you react to it.” To communicate the horrors at Auschwitz which are never seen in the film, Supervising Sound Editor Johnnie Burn reveals some of the techniques (and more of them here and here) behind his award-winning work on this film, which included a year of research and collecting sounds which were “historically accurate and as faithful as possible to the atrocities that happened there, without going to the point of sensationalising” them (via PBS):

Thomas Flight interviews Johnnie Burn in this examination of Why The Zone of Interest Does Not Let You See:


The Zone of Interest VFX Breakdown Showreel (via One of Us):

Further Viewing

Q&A with director Jonathan Glazer, composer Mica Levi, actors Sandra Hüller and Christian Friedel, Supervising Sound Editor Johnnie Burn, and producer James Wilson (via BFI):

In Depth Cine breaks down the film’s production in more detail:

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