“The Zone of Interest” by Jonathan Glazer already has 240,000 views at the French box office. AlloCiné asked the film's French distributor about the success of this demanding film.
The winner of the main prize at the last Cannes Film Festival, The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, is in our theaters on January 31. The film follows Auschwitz commander Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (played by Sandra Hüller). In a house with a garden next to the camp, they strive to build a dream life for their family.
The feature film has already gathered more than 240,000 viewers, it is the best start of 2024 in France and the best start of director Jonathan Glazer's career (Under the Skin, Birth…).
We asked French distributor BAC Films about the success of this challenging feature film.
AlloCiné: The Zone of Interest is the best start of the year and it's already over. Did you expect such success?
Bac movies: We knew we had a unique but very strong film that would succeed, but not to the point of being number one in the market in its first week of release. This proves that our work is rewarded. There was an expectation of the film and the fact that in France such a demanding film can gather an audience is encouraging.
It is comforting to say that in France such a demanding film can gather an audience.
AlloCiné: In your opinion, how important is the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in this success?
It does not have the effect of the Palm, but the award also greatly contributes to the film's success, confirming its undeniable quality.
AlloCiné: The film is radical and requires upstream and downstream support. Have you increased the number of sessions with speakers and debates?
It is a film that really required a lot of attention and support. There were several screenings and mostly at certain festivals with speakers like War on Screen. But it has been done upstream, particularly with exhibitors in partnership with AFCAE, for example, to give them tools such as a webinar with an expert in history and another in cinematography. Then the film was presented during the Télérama festival, which allowed us to see the desire for the film both in Paris and in the Province.
AlloCiné: Did you have any apprehensions before the release of the film? Were there any questions about delaying the release given the not-so-peaceful political climate?
There is indeed a rather worrying rise in extremism in Europe, and the film comes at the right time to do some memory work and explain how Nazism worked politically, industrially and ideologically among the population of the time. So, no, there was no talk of delaying the film, but we took our time before releasing it because it's one of the last films in the Cannes competition to be released in theaters.
AlloCiné: If some viewers are still intimidated by the demanding side of the film, what can you say to reassure them?
It is true that we could question the desire or apprehension of the public to go see the film and which audience. But those fears were allayed at the premiere of the film. The topic is certainly difficult, we leave amazed, but not exhausted. And above all, the film gathers all audiences, especially young people, which is a great pleasure.
We leave amazed, but not exhausted.
AlloCiné: Could we consider making The Zone of Interest an educational tool, like Night and Fog?
Night and Fog is a witness film based on archival images.is a movie reminder not to forget. We have provided a lot of educational work for schools (colleges, high schools, universities, whether in history, cinematography and even philosophy) with a significant educational file and the support of companies like La Grande distribution or Parentheses cinéma, accustomed to this work.
So yes, for us the film was made to fit in with the time and to illustrate school work. His career is just beginning.
can currently be seen in cinemas.