Windsor International Film Festival


Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt


Margarethe von Trotta
Barbara Sukowa, Janet McTeer
German, French, Hebr
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This is an intellectually exhilarating piece about what happens when an influential writer commits to difficult ideas. Philosopher Hannah Arendt (Sukowa) was sent by The New Yorker in 1961 to cover the trial of Adolph Eichmann, considered an architect of the Nazis' Final Solution. Arendt came up with the brilliant phrase the banality of evil to describe the fact that Eichmann didn't know how to think and therefore couldn't make moral choices. She also wrote about the Jewish Councils, suggesting Jewish leaders collaborated with the Germans and made the catastrophe worse. The articles caused a firestorm, which is fascinating to see play out. But the film's essential intrigue arises from the portrait of Arendt as a woman able to write dispassionately because she couldn't deal with the pain of her own experience as a Jew during the Holocaust. It's a rare film that deals so convincingly with ideas. Such fodder can be snoozeworthy but this is rivetting. Credit Sukowa with a superb performance as a woman who lost friends as she influenced people and McTeer is a delight as her loyal friend, writer Mary McCarthy.

Susan G. Cole – NOW Magazine



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