In this memoir of the origins and making of her film Hannah Arendt, Margarethe von Trotta places it in the context of her two earlier film biographies of prominent women: Rosa Luxemburg (1986) and Vision (original title: Vision—Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen, 2009). The three films share the challenge of blending public and personal lives, intellectual and emotional personae. The making of Rosa Luxemburg involved problematic research in the archives of the German Democratic Republic. The twelfth-century context of Hildegard’s life proposed other challenges, especially with regard to the relative lack of a visual record of the period. All three films profited from troves of personal letters. Von Trotta describes her slow “falling in love” with Arendt, a process abetted by the discovery of Arendt’s vulnerability. The decision to focus on the years of the Eichmann trial and controversy aided the juxtaposition of Arendt’s vulnerability with her public voice.

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