Third Thursday Movie Night

3rd Thursday Movie Night 2017 logo7:00 PM  AUUF

June 22, 2017

Every third Thursday of each month is Movie Night featuring a documentary or movie that presents issues worthy of discussion.  The movie begins at 7:00 PM at the Fellowship.  Dr. Rolf Habersang conducts the discussion following the screening.


This month’s docudrama Hannah Arendt (English, German and French with subtitles; 113 minutes) seems timely.  One reviewer in 2016 commented: “With the Trump example of how someone like Hitler can rise to trust and popularity, it’s easy to understand.”

Hannah Arendt ((1906-1975) was a Jewish German “political theorist,” a title she gave herself who was able to escape being killed in Germany, and settled in the US and taught in various colleges. She was a disciple and apparently the long-time lover of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) who was a controversial figure because of his affiliation with Nazism. This relationship is acknowledged in the film, but the film has many scenes where she and her husband are expressing love of each other – with statements such as, how can you leave the house without a kiss – apparently to cover-over the Arendt-Heidegger affair. Although people, especially Jews, described her as a Jew-hater after she wrote her book about the “banality of evil,” where, among other things, she wrote that Jewish leaders were guilty of cooperating with the Nazis, there is no proof that she shared the Nazi beliefs.

She was hired by the New Yorker magazine to cover the story of the trial of Eichmann. The New Yorker issued several articles by her about the trial and she later published a book on the subject. While there were people who praised the book, most people felt her ideas were disturbing and wrong.

Another reviewer, August Williams, offered his insights in 2013: “If you are not interested in philosophy or in grand questions such as “How can humans commit almost unimaginable acts of inhumanity?” then you should not bother with this film.  But if questions of this magnitude interest you, then there might not be another author who explores them with more intensity of focus than Hannah Arendt. This film merely skims the surface of her exceedingly complex and often misunderstood philosophical interpretation of Eichmann’s crimes. The subject of this film is the social controversy surrounding her initial publications of her theory about Eichmann and the Holocaust. However, the ambition of the film must also be to bring attention to Arendt, one of the most talented philosophers of the twentieth century, and who, like most women of genius, is usually given short shrift in favor of less talented male counterparts. The acting is so perfect that I remained haunted by the characters. There are many other strengths as well: the script, beautifully folding in Arendt’s relationships, including her friendship with Mary McCarthy; the sets of her apartment and classroom; the footage of Eichmann. But I think one of the final touches of insight was to have no real ending to the film thereby reminding the audience that the inquiry into the large questions tackled by Arendt will always remain open and unfinished.”

Dr. Rolf Habersang leads the discussion following the screening. Light refreshments will be provided.