In 1961, the noted German-American philosopher, Hannah Arendt, gets to report on the trial of the notorious Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann. While observing the legal proceedings, the Holocaust survivor concludes that Eichmann was not a simple monster, but an ordinary man who had thoughtlessly buried his conscience through his obedience to the Nazi regime and its ideology. Arendt's expansion of this idea, presented in the articles for "New Yorker", would create the concept of "the banality of evil" that she thought even sucked in some Jewish leaders of the era into unwittingly participating in the Holocaust. The result is a bitter public controversy in which Arendt is accused of blaming the Holocaust's victims. Now that strong willed intellectual is forced to defend her daringly innovative ideas about moral complexity in a struggle that will exact a heavy personal cost.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When Arendt stands on the terrace of her hotel in Jerusalem at looks across the Valley of Hinnom at the Old City, there are Israel flags flying from the Tower of David complex. However, the Old City of Jerusalem was still under Jordanian control in 1961. See more »
A great episode of history told on an average movie
Hanna Arendt is a biopic of the homonymous German philosopher focusing on her coverage of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem and the outrage that her articles on it ensued.
As a historical document, the movie is gripping and mostly clear (though some lines of the discussions of her with her friends are a bit unclear) to laymen. I, for one, had never heard of Arendt and the 'banality of evil' before, but I believe that now I'd be able to talk about her thoughts with making a fool out of myself. For that, I thank the film.
Though, on a movie-making viewpoint, it is a letdown. The flow of the film is pretty odd, with leaps in time and space (eg. suddenly she is in Israel), and the efforts to use transition scenes are pretty untimely. The dialogs aren't the best either, with strange remarks here and there, and philosophic remarks not everyone could grasp.
Hannah Arendt is much more of a history and philosophy class, than a great movie. Though, it deserves a bit of appreciation for successfully exposing a great woman's thoughts to a new generation.
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