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The Zone of Interest director went against his dad's wishes to make new Holocaust drama

"I remember saying to him: ‘I really wish I could let it rot.'"

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Jonathan Glazer attends
Jonathan Glazer, director of The Zone of Interest. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)

Jonathan Glazer has revealed that his late dad didn't want him to make The Zone of Interest.

Due out in UK cinemas next February, this chilling drama centers on the home life of Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig, whose house backed onto Auschwitz.

In an interview with The Guardian, director Glazer (Under the Skin) recalled his dad's immediate reaction to finding out his son was cinematically tackling this subject matter.

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"He said: 'I don't know what you're doing this for, why are you digging it up? Let it rot,'" the filmmaker shared.

"Those were the three words he used. His feeling was very much that it was gone, that it was in the past. I remember saying to him: 'I really wish I could let it rot, but, no, Dad, it's not in the past.'

"I had a very strange relationship with the project right from the off. This was the road I was going down and I couldn't stop myself going down it, but at the same time I was ready to pull back from it at any moment. I almost wanted to hit a brick wall so I could turn around and say: 'You know what? I tried and I can't do it.' I was almost willing that to happen," conceded Glazer.

THE ZONE OF INTEREST (2023), directed by JONATHAN GLAZER. Credit: A24 / Album
Sandra Hüller as Hedwig Höss in the new Holocaust drama. (A24)

Also known for directing Radiohead, Jamiroquai and The Dead Weather music videos, Glazer went on to double down on his feelings towards Holocaust coverage, despite having a Jewish background.

"I believe you absolutely should tackle the subject, but the essential question is not should you do it, but how?" he noted.

"Personally, I think the story has to be told and retold and, to do so, you have to find new paradigms to retell it, to restate it generation after generation particularly as the survivors diminish in numbers and it shifts from living memory and becomes history.

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"I made this film is to try to restate our close proximity to this terrible event that we think of as in the past. For me, it is not ever in the past. The road that so many people took is a few steps away.

"It is always just a few steps away."

The Zone of Interest comes to UK cinemas on 2 February, 2024.

Watch: Jonathan Glazer, Kōji Yakusho, and Merve Dizdar: The other winners of Cannes 2023