Clubhouse Conversations — The Zone of Interest

Editors' note: In-depth coverage of cinematographer Łukasz Żal, PSC's work on The Zone of Interest first appeared in American Cinematographer's December 2023 issue. Learn more here about how to subscribe to the industry's leading journal of motion-picture production techniques.

In this episode, cinematographer Łukasz Żal, PSC is joined by interviewer Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS to discuss his work on The Zone of Interest — a chilling account of a Nazi commandant's family life from writer-director Jonathan Glazer.

Based on the book of the same name by Martin Amis, The Zone of Interest is centered on Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), the longest-serving commandant of Auschwitz, and his wife, Hedwig (Sandra Hüller), who strive to build a happy home as the horrors of the death camp unfold just next door. At the 2023 EnergaCamerimage International Film Festival in November, critics awarded the film the FIPRESCI Prize.

In this interview, Żal discusses shooting the film in a pointedly realistic style; how he and the crew hid multiple Sony Venice cameras throughout the house location; how he incorporated period-accurate practical and high-hard lighting into their visual approach; his use of thermal cameras to shoot some portions of the film in near-total darkness, and more.

Łukasz Żal, PSC is a cinematographer whose credits include such acclaimed features as Cold War, Ida and I'm Thinking of Ending Things.

Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS is an Australian cinematographer whose feature credits include Australia (2008), Hidden Figures (2016) and Mulan (2020). She has earned ASC and Academy Award nominations for her work in Elvis.

You’ll find all episodes in our ASC Clubhouse Conversations discussion series here.