‘Area of ​​interest’: not-so-obvious monsters

Just a few minutes away from being released in Argentina, where I live, the film Area of ​​interest, by Jonathan Glazer, was already being shown in a few theaters. He did not have the favor of the public. I went to see her on Sunday. Review some days in the life of Rudolf Höss, the Nazi commander in charge of Auschwitz, during 1943. You know: nothing can be seen of the extermination center, except the wall that separates it from the comfortable house of Mr. Höss, his wife and their children; Nothing is seen of the massacre except the black smoke from the chimneys. With this off-screen, Glazer injects a glacial matter: what is seen – boat rides, lazing in the garden – becomes monstrous due to the effect of what is not seen. The containment of the film is inversely proportional to its power. There are scenes of semantic horror (two men go to see Höss to propose a more efficient incineration device and talk about “the pieces” to refer to the Jews); There are simple moments of abysmal rawness: Daddy Höss, to get to his work, only has to cross the door of his house, get on his mare and walk three steps to the gate of Auschwitz. But Glazer’s greatest feat consists in having managed to place Höss’s monstrosity in the shadow of his wife’s. That neat lady emanates an execrable bestiality made of hygienic, inhuman gestures. If Höss is a beast, his wife is a parasite that feeds on the trail he leaves on the ground. She appropriates mink caps from the beans, she tells her husband that if she “finds” chocolates “over there” she should take them, she lives taking care of her garden as if there were a functioning one on the other side of the wall. bakery. When Höss tells her that they are going to move him to another city, she orders him to prevent them from taking their house: he wants to stay there, with his greenhouse and her lettuce. At the end of the film there were no glowing comments. A man said: “It’s war, where are the shots?” I carried them. All in front. Ready to pierce my reason.

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