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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
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Thomas Miller
Victoria Trauttmansdorff ...
Charlotte Beradt
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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.

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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)
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Hannah Arendt: You forbid books and you speak of decency.
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Connections

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

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Cafe Ivory
Composed and Produced by Frank Stumvoll
Courtesy of Freshart Musicproductions
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User Reviews

 
How do you think about the unthinkable
1 August 2013 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Hannah Arendt (2012) is a movie co-written and directed by the outstanding German director Margarethe von Trotta.

The film stars Barbara Sukowa as Arendt, who was one of he leading intellectual thinkers of the 20th Century. Arendt's history reads more like fiction than non-fiction. As discussed in the movie, she studied in Germany under the great philosopher Heidegger, was imprisoned in a Nazi internment camp in France, from which she escaped, came to the U.S., and taught at some of the finest universities in our country.

The movie concentrates on the furor that arose after Arendt wrote about the Eichmann trial for The New Yorker. (These articles were later published as a book.) Arendt brought forth her theory of the banality of evil in these articles. Her point was that an evil person like Eichmann was not a monster, but rather a person who has renounced his ability to think, and therefore has renounced his status as a human being.

Arendt believed that Jews who accepted a modicum of authority from the Germans contributed to the Holocaust, because without the Jewish leaders to maintain order, there would have been more chaos and less killing of Jews.

This latter belief made people furious, because it suggested that the Jews were partially responsible for their own fate. This is hard enough to hear now. You can imagine how it was received in 1961, less than 20 years after the Holocaust.

One weakness of the film is that the script suggests that "everyone" was talking about Arendt's writing. Then, as now, the intellectuals of the Upper West Side of Manhattan did not represent a true sample of the U.S. population. Many people were aware of the Eichmann trial, but Arendt's writings passed unnoticed by most people.

Another weakness is that characters in Arendt's life are introduced once, and then never again. If you miss the names the first time, you'll just have to live without knowing who was whom. That's not so bad, because you can accept Barbara Sukowa as Arendt. Everyone else in the film revolves around her.

If you're interested in the Holocaust and in 20th Century philosophy, the film is a must. Even if those topics aren't important to you, the movie is compelling as a study in human behavior and human interactions. We saw the film at the Rochester Jewish Community Center as part of terrific Rochester Jewish Film Festival. If it's available on DVD or at another festival, I recommend that you see it.


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