Hannah Arendt movie – trailer and a few thoughts

I finally watched the Hannah Arendt movie yesterday. In some parts it’s flawed – especially the flashback scenes to her time at Freiburg University, and the affair with Heidegger – but other parts are powerful and thoughtful. It mainly focuses on the Adolf Eichmann trial, blending documentary footage with the film. I liked that it was in multiple languages, with subtitles. It’s especially good on the controversy following her book on the trial, and the complicated relationship with Hans Jonas was interesting. Worth watching if you can.

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12 Responses to Hannah Arendt movie – trailer and a few thoughts

  1. ARTH says:

    Why do you think that it is flawed?
    You have to explain! Don’t be so ad hominem!

  2. Ben Friedlander says:

    The representation of Mary McCarthy was appalling–an instance, I suspect, of a European snobbery about American intellectuals.

  3. Nicholas Dahmann says:

    Would be curious if you’ve seen Claude Lanzmann’s ‘Le dernier des injustes’/’The Last of the Unjust’, as it presents Eichmann (and Arendt) in a rather different light.
    ‘Le dernier des injustes’ is based upon Lanzmann’s first set of interviews in 1975 that would become Shoah (and subsequent films). Yet those earliest interviews with Benjamin Murmelstein didn’t substantially make their way into Lanzmann’s films until now. To be brief, Murmelstein was the only Judenältester to survive. In highly disparate capacities, Murmelstein worked in/around/with Eichmann (I’m intentionally avoiding the implication and the word ‘collaborate’ as this is itself central to the film). First, following the Anschluss in 1938, Murmelstein arranged the logistics of forced emigration (helping 100,000+ Jews escape Austria). Though of course, as emigration turned to internment and systematic destruction, Murmelstein was sent in 1943 to Theresienstadt, Eichmann’s “model ghetto”. After his two predecessors were killed or sent to death. Murmelstein became head elder and among other measures under serious duress, he contributed to the ‘beautification’ of Theresienstadt. While the film appears set to be released on DVD in early June, some transcripts of Lanzmann’s and Murmelstein’s discussions are available here: http://www.ushmm.org/online/film/display/detail.php?file_num=4742 Murmelstein’s own book on Theresienstadt and Lanzmann’s more recent interviews about the film make clear their view of Arendt and her understanding of Eichmann. I’ve gone on far too long, but ‘Le dernier des injustes’ presents, in both form and content, a rather different excavation of the living archive.

    Finally, I should note that Mark Lilla wrote at two article set for the NYRB in late November and early December 2013 on reviewing both films and related texts.

    A cantankerous Lanzmann interviewed in Le Point:
    Dans votre entretien, Murmelstein, qui a côtoyé le “démon” Eichmann pendant sept ans, donne tort à Hannah Arendt, qui ne voyait en lui qu’un banal bureaucrate…
    Cette notion de banalité du mal est profondément stupide. C’est la banalité des propres conclusions de Mme Arendt. Elle n’y a rien compris. Elle a écrit des choses valables, mais pas son livre sur le procès Eichmann à Jérusalem…

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