Based on real events, A Hidden Life is the story of an unsung hero, Bl. Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife, Fani, and children that keeps his spirit alive.Written by
During pre-production, Terrence Malick sent Valerie Pachner, who stars opposite Diehl as Fani, Jägerstätter's wife, a book about women in the first World War working on the farms when the men were away fighting. See more »
I thought that we could build our nest high up, in the trees. Fly away, like birds - to the mountains.
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The title card at the end of the picture comes from the final sentence of George Eliot's "Middlemarch". See more »
Written by Arvo Pärt
Performed by Ulster Orchestra
Conducted by Takuo Yuasa
Published by Universal Edition AG Vienna
Courtesy of Naxos, by arrangement with Source/Q See more »
Nearly half a century lies between this film and the only previous Terrence Malick I'd seen, BADLANDS, which I admire very much and have watched a number of times. As might be expected, he's a very different film maker now. I found A HIDDEN LIFE something of a puzzle. It is undoubtedly beautiful to watch, even as its subject matter gets progressively grimmer. Its religiosity was something of a challenge to me, as was its stilted dialogue. Its story is the familiar one of a man suffering for what he believes. It is the story of John Procter, the hero of Arthur Miller's play THE CRUCIBLE; it is the story of Ibsen's Dr Stockmann, in the play ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. And of course it's the story of Jesus Christ. There is a tragic grandeur to all of these, and, whatever my reservations about it, there is tragic grandeur to A HIDDEN LIFE. My husband found it unbearably pretentious. I can see why. But I admire the way that this film isn't like anyone else's, that Malick has, in the course of the last half-century, found a way of working that delivers something unique. It certainly won't be to everyone's taste, and aspects of it test one's patience. All the same, I was glad to have seen it, not least for the cinematography and the performances, and the retelling of a story that we all still need to hear in these troubled times.
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