Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt offers a brilliant cinematic interpretation of one of the most pivotal chapters in Hannah Arendt’s life and work, the Eichmann trial. The author argues that the film correctly assumes that Arendt’s thinking on evil underwent an important change during the writing of Eichmann in Jerusalem and seeks to present this change as a key to understanding her book and the rage it spurred. The film depicts this change by showing the intense labor of thinking Arendt devoted to the question of evil at the time of the trial and in the months that followed it. This essay reconstructs the way Arendt’s thought is displayed in the film as a basis for its interpretation. This interpretation is supported by a reconstruction of the historical context and discursive conditions in which Arendt’s new concept of evil, and her understanding of Nazi evil that follows from it, became such a scandal.
A Barely Visible Protagonist
adi ophir is a professor at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas and director of research at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University. He is currently a visiting professor at the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University. His most recent book (in Hebrew) is Divine Violence: Two Essays on God and Disaster (Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, 2013).
Adi Ophir; A Barely Visible Protagonist. differences 1 September 2015; 26 (2): 106–120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-3146009
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