Sandra Hüller as Hedwig Höss in The Zone of Interest

‘The Zone of Interest’ Is Getting a Sequel, but It’s Not What You’d Expect

Tickets for this limited-time event went on sale Friday morning.

The real-life family depicted in director Jonathan Glazer’s harrowing war drama The Zone of Interest will take center stage in a new documentary, acting as a sort of companion piece to the Oscar-winning film. Here’s everything you need to know about The Commandant’s Shadow, including its release date.

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The Zone of Interest is, perhaps, among the most timely and relevant pieces of media to come out of the 2023/2024 awards season, highlighting the political extremism that led to the Holocaust and therefore, the mass execution of 6 million Jews and 5 million members of other targeted minority groups. Both eerie and achingly patient with its storytelling, the movie won Best Sound and Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.

What is The Zone of Interest about?

Starring Sandra Hüller and Christian Friedel, the film follows an affluent German family who, on the surface, seem perfectly normal. However, viewers quickly come to realize that Commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig are harboring a much darker secret—their tidy home and idyllic gardens are all smoke and mirrors, as they live right next door to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp.

Nauseatingly enough, The Zone of Interest is based on the real-life Höss family, who, like their onscreen counterparts, indeed lived in a picturesque home near the Polish city of Krakow, hidden behind the towering walls that surrounded Auschwitz during the peak of its operation. The story also took inspiration from author Martin Amis’ 2014 novel of the same name, with Glazer opting to tell the story of the real Höss family rather than the fictionalized characters featured in the book.

Höss’ autobiography (per Smithsonian Magazine) states that life for his family was nothing short of a Nazi paradise, having written, “My wife’s garden was a paradise of flowers,” while also describing leisurely picnics with his five kids and splashing around in the nearby river during summertime—all while millions lost their lives in the gas chamber just a stone’s throw away. The SS officer was eventually sentenced to hang for his crimes in 1947 after facing a Polish tribunal, where he wrote his memoir, Commandant of Auschwitz: The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess, during imprisonment.

New documentary expands on the legacy of Rudolf Höss

On Friday morning, Deadline reported that Warner Bros. is bringing filmmaker Daniela Völker’s feature-length documentary The Commandant’s Shadow to the big screen thanks to a partnership with Fathom Events. Set to follow Hans Jürgen Höss, the now 87-year-old son of Rudolf Höss, the film will see him grappling with his father’s troubling legacy as he meets Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch for the first time, eight decades later.

Per the outlet, “This documentary is an incredible look at the reality of Auschwitz through the eyes of those who experienced it in very different ways, said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt.  “We are very pleased to again partner with Warner Bros. to bring this very important film to the big screen.”

From the sounds of it, The Commandant’s Shadow will feature some pretty heavy moments, and it’s bound to be an emotional, highly personal look into the lives of those who lived in central Europe during Adolf Hitler’s reign. Excerpts from Rudolf Höss’ autobiography will also be included, further documenting his adamant denial and mutual horror about the atrocities that took place at Auschwitz.

Tickets for The Commandant’s Shadow are currently available for purchase, with the documentary set to arrive in 500+ theaters across the U.S. on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Although a release window has yet to be confirmed, it seems likely that the film will premiere on Max in the weeks following its limited theatrical run.

(featured image: A24)


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Author
Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.