Hannah Arendt

Pouncing on the chance to cover the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, resulting in her controversial pronouncement about the disparity between "the mediocrity of the man" and "the horror of the deeds," the writer-philosopher Hannah Arendt is brought to life by a mesmerizing Barbara Sukowa in Margarethe von Trotta's film. Despite all its scenes of ideas thrashed out at cocktail parties and in the office of New Yorker editor William Shawn (a droll Nicolas Woodson), and barnburner lectures at the New School where Arendt taught, Hannah Arendt mostly forestalls any complaints of talkiness, and it avoids the static portrayal of writers at work. (There is still too much smoking-while-thinking.) Squaring your own past with reporting duties is a theme-- Arendt, a Jew, was a detention camp survivor—and ur-woman's director Margarethe von Trotta, in a 30-year creative partnership with Sukowa, adds smart, grown-up girl talk about men, marriage, and careers with Arendt's loyal friend, Mary McCarthy (a zingy Janet McTeer). Good, because Arendt meets painful opposition from other lifelong colleagues when she declares Eichmann merely obedient, incapable of envisioning the next horrendous step in his bureaucratic duties constructing the Holocaust. Historical footage of the twitchy Eichmann in his protective glass cage echoes the film's dark re-enactment of his kidnapping from Argentina, mirrored later as Israeli secret forces track down Arendt on an early morning walk, trying to strong-arm her into suppressing Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. It's the one time the courageous Arendt, here more quicksilver than arrogant (as she is reported to have occasionally been), looks scared.

Credits

Director:

  • Margarethe von Trotta

Cast:

  • Barbara Sukowa
  • Axel Milberg
  • Janet McTeer
  • Julia Jentsch
  • Ulrich Noethen
  • Michael Degen
  • Victoria Trauttmansdorff
  • Klaus Pohl
  • Nicholas Woodeson
  • Friederike Becht

Writers:

  • Margarethe von Trotta
  • Pam Katz

Producers:

  • Bettina Brokemper
  • Johannes Rexin

Now Playing

Hannah Arendt is not showing in any theaters in the area.

What others are saying

  • Now Playing

    By Film...

    By Theater...