Presented by: New Zealand International Film Festival

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

31 July 2016

ITR Auditorium


Israel/Canada 2015
Director/Screenplay:
Ada Ushpiz
In German, English and Hebrew, with English subtitles

The German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt left her indelible imprint on 20th-century thought by coining the concept of the ‘banality of evil’ when reporting on the 1963 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann. Directed by Israeli documentarian Ada Ushpiz, who has degrees in philosophy and history, this smart, spirited documentary illuminates that often abused idea. Ushpiz also draws a larger picture of Arendt’s often conflicted engagement with the defining phenomena of her era. Richly illustrated with rarely-seen historical footage, Vita Activa offers an intimate portrait of Arendt’s life and work – both deeply informed by the aftermath of World War I, the rise of Nazi Germany and its systematic elimination of European Jews. There are interviews with old friends and academic experts and extensive use of filmed interviews Arendt herself gave, as well as effective readings of excerpts from her essays and letters by actress Alison Darcy.

“There are moments in Vita Activa, an urgent and often startling documentary from Israeli director Ada Ushpiz, where I could feel her trying to reach across the decades and talk to us.” — Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

 Vita Activa, while it will surely satisfy and provoke students of 20th-century intellectual history, feels more urgent than most documentaries of its kind.” — A.O. Scott, NY Times

Running Times:
Times are approx. and subject to change at any time.

Box Office Open: 1 Hour Prior to first session of the day
Auditorium Doors Open: 15 Minutes prior to film (Approx)
Duration: 124 Minutes
Box Office Close: 30 Minutes after last film starts


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