Hannah Arendt
2012
***
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Janet McTeer, Klaus Pohl, Nicholas Woodeson, Axel Milberg, Julia Jentsch, Ulrich Noethen, Michael Degen

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a Jewish writer and philosopher, fled Germany after Hitler’s rise to power. In the early 1960s, she wrote a controversial New Yorker article on the Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. Unlike the rest of the Jewish world, she refused to see Eichmann as an evil monster but instead as a dangerously robotic bureaucrat who blindly carried out his orders. Margarethe von Trotta’s biographical drama of this period in Arendt’s life is consistently interesting but never exactly captivating. A story about the importance of thinking doesn’t sound like a very cinematic proposition and, indeed, very often this feels like a filmed essay rather than a piece of cinema. Nevertheless, Barbara Sukowa gives a fine performance, be it in German or in English.