HANNAH ARENDT: THE REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev, attended and reviewed this one last November but then the release date was not set so the review got put on the burner, but now I present Andrew’s review of HANNAH ARENDT, a film he truly loved and was disappointed I would not allow it in his top 20 films for 2013, it wasn’t released yet 🙂 Anyways, enjoy this latest, well told post-holocaust film and Kernel Andrew’s review of same. Hannah Arendt releases March 20th, it looks like it will be M rated and runs for 113 mins. Thanks to the wonderful people at CURIOUS FILM we have 10x double passes to giveaway to view the film when it releases. See after Andrew’s review to find out how.

 

HANNAH ARENDT, HANNAH AREDNT MOVIE, HANNAH ARENDT REVIEW, ANDREW BRUSENTSEV, Pamela Katz, Margarethe von Trotta, CURIOUS FILMS, Barbara Sukowa, Janet McTeer, HOLOCAUST FILM, HOLOCAUST MOVIE
HANNAH ARENDT: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Margarethe von Trotta has made a long overdue movie about an important thinker of the 20th century. That controversial Jewish-German philosopher Hannah Arendt.  Arendt, born and educated in Germany (under the tutelage of Martin Heidegger), immigrated to the United States during the early years of the 2nd World War. This movie will not be for everyone. But as someone who has read much of Arendt’s literature and who admires her reportage and analysis on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, I believe a thoroughly accessible movie. It would have been a daunting movie to make. There is so much promise here and a very meaty story but due to its content not the easiest of journey’s for any audience.

Essentially it is the story of an uncompromising philosopher known for her ground-breaking work on the nature of totalitarianism sent by New Yorker magazine to Israel to cover the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a pivotal figure in one of the 20th century’s greatest tragedies.

In 1963, The New Yorker published five articles on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, chief of Bureau IV-B-4, a Gestapo division in charge of “Jewish Affairs.”  When the articles came out they unleashed a titanic controversy and a civil war amongst intellectuals, survivors, readers and her circle of friends. The articles themselves were banned in Israel until only very recently.  Just so you can understand some reviews called Arendt a self-hating Jew and Nazi lover. The Jewish Daily Forward accused her of “polemical vulgarity” of the worst kind. Whilst others, myself included (well just my opinion) viewed her articles as a “masterpiece”. So much so that Raul Hilberg, at the time the world’s preeminent Holocaust scholar, was nearly lynched for defending Arendt at a conference.

 

HANNAH ARENDT, HANNAH AREDNT MOVIE, HANNAH ARENDT REVIEW, ANDREW BRUSENTSEV, Pamela Katz, Margarethe von Trotta, CURIOUS FILMS, Barbara Sukowa, Janet McTeer, HOLOCAUST FILM, HOLOCAUST MOVIE
HANNAH ARENDT: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Barbara Sukowa does an exceptional job of portraying the enigmatic and oft times difficult philosopher Arendt. We are initially introduced to her as a feted Professor of the University in Exile (a University setup in the United States in 1933 for German émigré’s to continue their teaching in relative safety). She is already world renowned. Her work on totalitarianism and the rise of the Nazi Party are accepted as being the definitive work on the subject. Arendt is surrounded by her friends. Like her husband Heinrich Blucher (Axel Milberg) most are also Jewish immigrants to the U.S., they greet the news of her commission with apprehension. There are immediate disputes. Her life-long friend Hans Jonas (Ulrich Noethen) begs for Hannah not to turn this into an exercise in philosophy but see evil for what it really is. Her husband views the trial in Jerusalem as nothing more than a show piece. Yes Eichmann has perpetrated a crime but there is no chance for a “fair” trial so why bother with the pretense of one. There is a bitter dispute. Arendt listens dispassionately understanding both points of view and travels to Israel anyway.

Arriving in Jerusalem, Hannah is met by another of her good friends, Kurt Blumenfeld (Michael Degen). Who after viewing Eichmann at the trial informs her in a casual conversation that Eichmann seems more like a nothing, a nobody rather than a monster. This idea intrigues Arendt who from this casual sentence comes up with her ultimate theory on the ”banality of evil”. As the trial proceeds Arendt becomes obsessed with the idea that Eichmann was fanatical with the notion of the Führer as leader that he had imbued himself with some form of blank moral state and unthinkingly followed orders.

 

HANNAH ARENDT, HANNAH AREDNT MOVIE, HANNAH ARENDT REVIEW, ANDREW BRUSENTSEV, Pamela Katz, Margarethe von Trotta, CURIOUS FILMS, Barbara Sukowa, Janet McTeer, HOLOCAUST FILM, HOLOCAUST MOVIE
HANNAH ARENDT: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Pam Katz’s screenplay is really the star of this production and gives room for Sukowa to really shine as the anchor point to the movie. It really takes off when arriving back in the US, her findings and her articles eventually bring out the worst in everyone around her.

Von Trotta directs a great ensemble cast but the focus is really Arendt. Janet McTeer as novelist Mary McCarthy is also notable. But it is the use of stock footage of Eichmann from the trial that really hits home with the audience. Here was a man so removed from his morality that he committed the most monstrous of crimes without ever “thinking” about them. It is this “banality of evil” which is most shocking. Rather than a monster we find a man who is so small, so morally feeble, that there is neither sympathy nor rage but rather a growing realisation that evil can be committed by the feeblest of us.

 

HANNAH ARENDT, HANNAH AREDNT MOVIE, HANNAH ARENDT REVIEW, ANDREW BRUSENTSEV, Pamela Katz, Margarethe von Trotta, CURIOUS FILMS, Barbara Sukowa, Janet McTeer, HOLOCAUST FILM, HOLOCAUST MOVIE
HANNAH ARENDT: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The film’s most brilliant moment is when Arendt, towards the end of the movie, addresses her students and accusers in a nearly 10 minute monologue. This is Sukowa and the Katz’s crowning glory. Arendt concludes: “This inability to think created the possibility for many ordinary men to commit evil deeds on a gigantic scale, the like of which had never been seen before. The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge but the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly. And I hope that thinking gives people the strength to prevent catastrophes in these rare moments when the chips are down.”

I will leave the last lines to Arendt herself.

“Just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”

 

5 Pops

 

COMPETITION ENTRY RULES

With special thanks to CURIOUS FILM to win one of the 10 x double in-season passes you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite foreign film of all time and why?  As there are 10x passes it will be a first in first served giveaway. Please note the passes will be valid nationally wherever the film is playing.

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 🙂

The prizes will be sent in the next week. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.