CANNES (Reuters) – German actor Christian Friedel said on Saturday that watching himself as the commandant of the Auschwitz death camp in Jonathan Glazer’s film “The Zone of Interest” frightened him.
“The challenge in this project (was) for us to find authenticity in the situations,” he told journalists after the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday evening.
“I watched the movie for the second time and I feel very uncomfortable, because some of the situations I was thinking ‘OK, that, that was me’ sometimes and that frightens me.”
The movie centres on the commandant Rudolf Hoess and his family as they set up a life next to the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, where more than 1.1 million people were murdered in the largest of the concentration camps and extermination centres built by the Nazis.
Glazer said he wanted to show the capacity for violence in all people with the film, which was shot entirely at Auschwitz.
“We think we could never behave this way and we don’t behave this way, but I think we should be less certain in that.”
“Zone of Interest” is Glazer’s first film to compete at Cannes. He also directed “Sexy Beast” and “Under the Skin.”
Britain’s BBC broadcaster and the Telegraph newspaper both gave the film perfect scores, with Telegraph calling the film “horrifying in its banality.”
(Reporting by Mindy Burrows and Miranda Murray; Editing by Hugh Lawson)