Hannah_Arendt_Film_PosterTonight we watched Margarethe von Trotta’s 2012 ‘biopic’, Hannah Arendt. It is an intellectually courageous film about an intellectually (and morally) courageous woman at a key point in her thinking and her life. Barbara Sukowa’s chain-smoking portrayal of Arendt is utterly believable. This is somebody who is constitutionally unable to compromise with the truth as she sees it. Flash-backs cover her sentimental relationship with Martin Heidegger and the moral dilemma this came to represent (the subsequently stable figure in her emotional life, second husband Heinrich Blücher, is beautifully played by Axel Milberg). Von Trotta splices in authentic footage of the 1961 Eichman trial, which Arendt covered for the New Yorker. Arendt’s reactions and her evolving reflections on the nature of evil form the core of the film. Arendt famously argued that she was a political theorist and not a philosopher because “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world.” It cannot be easy to craft a film about a philosopher and her philosophising, but Hannah Arendt undoubtedly works. The film also provides affectionate portraits of Arendt’s friendships (with Mary McCarthy and William Shawn, for example) and of the small, New York-based , German-speaking community of intellectuals that is portrayed almost as though it were the common room of a university in exile.