Jonathan Glazer, Cannes-winning British Jewish movie director

As 58-year-old takes runner-up prize for unusual Holocaust drama ‘The Zone of Interest,’ a look at the mere handful of films he’s released over a 20-year career

British director Jonathan Glazer poses during a photocall for the film "The Zone Of Interest" at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 20, 2023. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)
British director Jonathan Glazer poses during a photocall for the film "The Zone Of Interest" at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 20, 2023. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

CANNES, France — Jonathan Glazer, who won the runner-up prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival on Saturday for his Holocaust drama “The Zone of Interest,” has made just a handful of films in 20 years.

But each one has been unique, drawing highly memorable performances from stars such as Nicole Kidman, Ben Kingsley and, in his latest feature, Sandra Hueller.

The Cannes-winning film comes a decade on from the enigmatic British Jewish director’s last film, “Under the Skin,” the ultra-bizarre alien flick starring Scarlett Johansson.

Here’s a quick summary of the man and his work:

Ads and music videos

London-born Glazer, 58, began in the theater before moving into adverts and music videos.

He made memorable ads for Guinness, Stella Artois and Levi’s in the 1990s and several videos for Radiohead, as well as Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” which won the MTV video of the year award in 1997.

‘Sexy Beast’ (2000)

Glazer caused a sensation with his first film starring Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley, putting a bravura spin on the tired British gangster genre with the sort of searing images that characterized his ads and music videos.

It gave the world one of the most unforgettably insane characters ever committed to celluloid in Kingsley’s motor-mouthed psycho Don Logan — as distant as it’s possible to be from his best-known role as Gandhi — earning the actor an Oscar nomination.

‘Birth’ (2004)

Radically switching genres, Glazer turned next to this eerie New York tale about a widow (Nicole Kidman) confronted by a 10-year-old who claims to be her reincarnated dead husband.

The film confounded and scandalized critics at the time and was booed at its Venice Film Festival premiere, with many disturbed by the sexual overtones of the central relationship, but its reputation has grown over the years and earned comparisons with legendary director Stanley Kubrick.

‘Under the Skin’ (2013)

Glazer’s mysterious sci-fi set in a remote coastal Scottish town drew a stand-out performance from Scarlett Johansson, playing an alien in human form who roams the beaches and streets, picking up random men and luring them to an abandoned house.

Mixing highly stylized abstract scenes with gritty Glasgow realism, Glazer’s film was both baffling and mesmerizing, but this time the critics were won over, with the film topping multiple film-of-the-year lists.

‘The Zone of Interest’ (2023)

After a decade in which he only made a couple of short films, Glazer has returned with another unique offering — looking at the disturbing ordinary private life of a Nazi officer at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

It never shows the horrors of the camp directly, but the audience knows full well what the background noises — trains, incinerators, gunshots and screams — signify.

Jonathan Glazer, winner of the jury prize award for the film ‘The Zone of Interest,’ poses for photographers during a photo call following the awards ceremony at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, May 27, 2023. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

On Saturday, the jury at Cannes awarded the film the Grand Prix after critics had been near-unanimous in their praise following the premiere at the festival.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.