Hannah Arendt

by Margarethe von Trotta

Hannah Arendt


The film portrays Hannah Arendt (Barbara Sukowa) during the four years, (1960-64), that she observes, writes, and en- dures the furious reception for her work about the trial of the Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann. Watching Arendt as she at- tends the trial, staying by her side as she is both barraged by her critics and supported by a tight band of loyal friends, we experi- ence the intensity of this powerful Jewish woman who fled Nazi Germany in 1933. The fierce, chain-smoking Arendt is an exile who is happy and flourishing in America, but whose penetrating vision makes her an outsider wherever she goes.
When Arendt hears that the Israeli Secret Service has kid- napped Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, and brought him to Jerusalem, she is determined to report on the trial. “I never saw these people in the flesh...” she writes the New Yorker mag- azine, and “To attend this trial is an obligation I owe to my past.” William Shawn (Nicholas Woodeson), the editor of the magazine The New Yorker, is thrilled to have such an esteemed intellectual cover the historic process, but Arendt’s husband, Heinrich Blücher (Axel Milberg), is not so sure. He worries that this encounter will put his beloved Hannah back into what they both call the “dark times.”
Arendt enters the tense Jerusalem courtroom expecting to see a monster and instead she finds a nobody. The shallow char- acter of the man cannot be easily reconciled with the profound evil of his actions, but Arendt quickly realizes that this contrast is the puzzle that must be solved. She shares her observations in intense discussions with her close friend and father-figure, Kurt Blumenfeld (Michael Degen). And although they often dis- agree, there is much love and respect between them.
Arendt returns to New York and as she begins to discuss her groundbreaking interpretation of Eichmann, fear ripples through her best friend, Hans Jonas (Ulrich Noethen). Jonas insists that Arendt is taking a far too philosophical approach to this incendiary subject. She’ll only cause confusion, he warns. Arendt stands her ground and Heinrich supports her all the way. After two years of intense thought, additional reading, and further debate with her best American friend, Mary McCarthy (Janet McTeer) her German researcher and friend, Lotte Köhler (Julia Jentsch) and of course, constant consultation with Hein- rich, she finally delivers her manuscript. The publication of the article in The New Yorker provokes an immediate scandal in the U.S., Israel, and soon in the rest of the world.


Von Trotta was born in 1942 in Berlin and studied German and Romance languages and literature in Munich and Paris. Marga- rethe von Trotta ranks among the world’s most renowned writer- directors. Over the years she has created an extensive oeuvre of dedicated and impressive filmmaking that never fails to confirm her pronounced talent for fusing the personal experience with the political theme, developing a distinctive form that is emo- tionally rich and enjoys wide public appeal. Von Trottas protago- nists often stem from a historical reality that she counters with the feminine solidarity and strength of women who transform their lives and break out of conditions defined as normal.

Selected Filmography
2009    »Vision - Aus Dem Leben Der Hildegard Von Bingen«
2003    »Rosenstrasse«
1994    »Das Versprechen«
1986    »Rosa Luxemburg«
1983    »Heller Wahn«
1981    »Die Bleierne Zeit «
1993    »Zeit Des Zorn«


Barbara Sukowa
Axel Milberg
Janet McTeer
Julia Jentsch
Ulrich Noethen
Michael Degen
Nicholas Woodeson
Sascha Ley
Victoria Trauttmansdorff
Klaus Pohl


Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Screenwriters: Pamela Katz & Margarethe von Trotta
Producers Bettina Brokemper, Johannes Rexin co-producers Bady Minck, Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, Antoine de Clemont-Tonerre, David Silber
Cinematographer: Caroline Champetier
Editor: Bettina Böhler
Production: Heimatfilm, Amour Fou Luxembourg, Mact Productions, Metro Communications
in coproduction with: Degeto Film GmbH, BR, WDR
Supported by: Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, FFA, FFF Bayern, DFFF, Film Fund Luxembourg - CIAV, Film Fund Luxemburg - AFS, CNC Israel Film Fund, Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, Eurimages

Technical Data

Format: 35mm / 1:2,39 / Colour / Dolby SRD 5.1
Length: 110 min
Original Languages: German, English


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