It was hard to make difference, for me, if Hannah Arendt – the film – was made about the said woman’s background featuring her philosophy and views or if it was made to show how much one woman could smoke in the 1960s.
Hannah Arendt was a German-Jewish philosopher and journalist who reported on Eichmann’s trial for The New York Times. Eichmann, if you’re not familiar, was a German war criminal, a lunatic and as Arendt said, not a person.1 He served as “an expert on Jewish matters” in the Nazi party and was responsible for a whole lot of Jewish deaths and war crimes. His trial was of great importance, naturally, and its coverage as well. Arendt wrote a book on it and (I fell asleep at one point so I don’t know what happened exactly, my apologies) caused a havoc as she critisised the actions of Jewish leaders – which most people interpreted as Arendt blaming the Jews for the Holocaust.
The second part of the film mainly concentrates on the latter part exactly – the response from others. Not only the general public but also Arendt’s (by then, mostly former) friends and family. Ties broke with some who were closest to her and people who she’d expected to admire her work rejected it – which Arendt, then, referred to as stupidity and ignorance. The story was interesting and I, a history nerd, hadn’t even heard of anyone called Hannah Arendt, yet she was an influential political figure and shouldn’t be overlooked. The story behind the plot, though serves as one of the few good things about the film.
Apart from a few gems – some strong appearances, a couple of witty scenes and the background to it, it’s not a good film (I, for one, as previously mentioned, fell asleep). It lacks visually, the soundtrack is so boring and unremarkable that even I noticed, there is no real connection to the characters and nothing that would actually keep you watching. I went to see it with class and if I hadn’t, I would’ve had walked out on it. The seventy-year-old director Margarethe von Trotta doesn’t make her case here, famous for her feminist touch on films, but rather tries too hard at some places and has it too loose in others. It’s neither compelling nor captivating at most times and is exactly the kind of film that that, shown to school students as compulsory, drives them away from non-Hollywood cinema.
1 roughly. I have a very, very bad memory.