Who she? The woman who coined the phrase “the banality of evil” after attending the 1961 trial of Nazi administrator Adolf Eichmann. She was covering it for The New Yorker, having escaped the Holocaust herself in 1933.
Eichmann oversaw the transportation of Jews to the concentration camps, but his attitude during the trial – this film uses only actual footage of him – was that it was just a bureaucratic procedure: he didn’t actually kill any Jews himself, so their deaths were not his fault. He is more bland than monstrous.
Arendt also alienated friends and academic colleagues by highlighting the complicity of Jewish leaders in the Nazi round-ups.
This cool study of both the grey men behind the Holocaust and a fearlessly objective woman may lack dramatic highs, but it’s well worth watching. 7/10
Released February 27, 2014