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Hannah Arendt (2012)

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A look at the life of philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who reported for The New Yorker on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lotte Köhler
Axel Milberg ...
Heinrich Blücher
Timothy Lone ...
News Speaker
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Francis Wells
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Jonathan Schell
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Student Enrico
Leila Schaus ...
Student Laureen
...
Thomas Miller
Victoria Trauttmansdorff ...
Charlotte Beradt
Sascha Ley ...
Lore Jonas
Friederike Becht ...
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Storyline

A look at the life of philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who reported for The New Yorker on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

10 January 2013 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Hana Arent  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$31,270 (USA) (31 May 2013)

Gross:

$714,442 (USA) (1 November 2013)
 »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Quotes

[last lines]
Hannah Arendt: The whole world is trying to prove that I'm wrong. And no one sees my real mistake. Evil cannot be both ordinary and radical. Evil is always extreme. Never radical. Good is always deep and radical.
Heinrich Blücher: Would you have covered the trial if you knew what was expecting you?
Hannah Arendt: Yes. I would have covered it. Maybe to learn who my real friends are.
Heinrich Blücher: Kurt was your friend and would have remaind such.
Hannah Arendt: Kurt was my family.
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Connections

Featured in Democracy Now!: Episode dated 26 November 2013 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Sherry Lane
Composed and Produced by Frank Stumvoll
Courtesy of Freshart Musicproductions
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User Reviews

 
Interesting history lesson
6 May 2013 | by (Ghent, Belgium) – See all my reviews

I didn't know an awful lot about philosopher Hannah Arendt before I saw this movie. Now I know a lot more about her, and about the way she thinks. After seeing the film, I have even read some articles about her work.

If that's what director Margarethe von Trotta had in mind when making this film, she succeeded. Her film documents an important chapter in the story of Arendt's life: her articles about the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, and the ensuing tsunami of negative reactions. The reason for those negative reactions was the way Arendt regarded Eichmann: not as a monster, but as a man 'incapable of thinking', a dimwit who just followed orders. This fitted her theory of 'the banality of evil': the worst kinds of evil are often the result of not thinking for oneself.

Veteran actress Barbara Sukowa portrays Arendt as a difficult and complex woman, who is a brilliant philosopher but also stubborn, arrogant and single-minded. In one scene, we see her lying on a couch, when the phone rings. On the other end of the line is her editor, who faces a deadline and asks if she is making progress with the articles. 'Of course I'm working hard, and it would be nice if I could continue working instead of chatting on the phone', she answers. After that, she returns to the couch, lies down and continues smoking her cigarette.

Sometimes it seems that Arendt is incapable of feeling, just as Eichmann is incapable of thinking. Even when her best friends turn away from her, she continues insulting them by telling them 'she doesn't love the Jewish people'. She means it in a philosophical way - you can't love a people the way you love individuals. But nevertheless, it comes across as cold-hearted and insensitive.

Arendt is clearly an interesting person. But that doesn't make 'Hannah Arendt' an interesting film. From a cinematographic point of view, the movie doesn't have much to offer. It's a rather straightforward account of this episode in Arendt's life. The only thing that adds a little depth to the film are the flashbacks of the romantic affair she had with her teacher, the famous philosopher Martin Heidegger, who sympathized with the Nazis. The film suggests that this affair influenced the way she regarded Nazis such as Eichmann, but doesn't make this explicit. In my view, the film is interesting as a history lesson about this remarkable woman, but not as a great cinematographic experience.


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