Margarethe von Trotta, maker of passionate films about Rosa Luxemburg and Hildegard von Bingen, now tackles Hannah Arendt, the German-born philosopher who coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe the ordinariness of the Holocaust’s perpetrators. This portrait of the influential 20th-century thinker is set in New York in the 1950s, where Hannah and her husband have lived since escaping a French detention camp. A brilliant teacher at The New School, Hannah is assigned by The New Yorker to cover the trial of Adolf Eichmann, overseer of the transportation of Jews to concentration camps. But her articles are met with fierce opposition: the idea that ordinary people could be responsible for heinous crimes doesn’t sit well. When Arendt dares to write that some Jewish leaders collaborated with the Nazis, a media circus ensues. Even viewers unfamiliar with Hannah Arendt’s writings will be stirred by Barbara Sukowa’s award-worthy performance.

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113 min
Not Rated
Year: 2012
Country: Germany
Language: English and German with English subtitles
Festivals: Toronto 2012, New York Jewish Film Festival 2013
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Screenwriter: Pamela Katz, Margarethe von Trotta
Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Janet McTeer