Hannah Arendt is a the most complex and masterful of films that I, in my short years, have seen. The film, so fraught with subtlety and infused with dilemmas, can only leave the audience in curious awe of human nature, numbing all recollection of whether it was shot in colour or black and white.
The film recounts the trial of Nazi lieutenant colonel Adolf Eichmann – for some a trial of an evil intentioned man and for some a trial of evil itself. The philosopher protagonist, Hannah Arendt, is the epitomy of emotion, who in gentle moments with her husband brings touching romanticism to the German language. And yet, she, as a philosopher, works to cut through all emotion to understand, through this trial, the root of the holocaust’s evil. She argues, to widespread subsequent disdain, that Eichmann in his trial, embodies the banality of evil – an unthinking human, acting upon command. As the characters struggle with a fusion of language – German, English and Hebrew – the audience grapples with the collision of perspectives – on emotion, on thinking and on evil.
Hannah Arendt is the film I would watch again and again and yet, in this world, it is a film we all watch – again, again and again.