Hannah Arendt (Germany/Luxembourg/France, 2012)

Hannah_Arendt_Film_PosterDirected by: Margarethe Von Trotta. I don’t know anything about this director or this actor or their apparently long history of great collaborations together, but I did read the Hannah Arendt book that this is based on, the famous Eichmann in Jerusalem, and I was taken in by it enough to go for this biopic. And I’ll lay aside for now all of the recent counter-feelings and hesitant detachment that started stewing in me after I saw the movie, when I recently read this turns-out article that makes it sound like anyone who follows Arendt’s thesis is a mindless dope hopelessly behind the times. Turns out that evil is not banal after all! But as for this movie, unsurprisingly, if you weren’t interested in this book, you probably won’t care about the movie. As much as I want to tell you that this was a sophisticated, multi-layered European art-film that meditates on complex topics and provides an illuminating illustration of a fascinating point in history, I have to say that this movie feels more like the same old, paint-by-numbers Hollywood Great Man (in this case Great Woman) biopic movie where everyone on the hero’s side of the argument is an embattled philosopher king exploring ambiguous territory and everyone on the other side is a simple-minded buffoon. To be fair, the film treats Arendt’s detractors with much softer kid gloves than that, but the lines are still drawn quite starkly, and the “debate” isn’t a debate as much as it is a reaffirmation of Arendt’s own points. And of course, the filmmakers would say: why shouldn’t it be when the film is called Hannah Arendt? Fair enough, go for it, do your thing, enjoy your movie. But I wasn’t super into this movie, and I was definitely super into the book, so I’ll let you take that as you will.

One response to “Hannah Arendt (Germany/Luxembourg/France, 2012)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2014 | Offhand Reviews·

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