Special Section History of Life Writing Theory Study Comparative Biography Autobiography Study Subject Study Film Biography From the Life Writer Essays on Life Writing Academic Info More
The Thinker’s Solitude and Courage: An Examination of the Biopic Hannah Arendt

Abstract: Biographical picture (hereafter biopic), as a fresh sub-category of the ‘general biography’ concept, has now received rising concern extensively. In particular, owning to the new small climax caused by biopic worldwide, relevant comments and research have been revealing their remarkable influences. The film Hannah Arendt released in 2012 has reached the rare depth and height among biopics. This paper has selected four major themes – the power of thoughts, the existence of beauty, the heaviness of darkness and the banality of evil, to demonstrate the viewpoint of this film – how Arendt made her way to become Arendt, a figure entitled “the crossing of thoughts in the 20th century”. There is no doubt that the biopic is thus made success. However, in order to strengthen the solitude of thinker, deep colors representing the loneliness and darkness are overstressed, whilst the concept of love she kept advocating seems to be neglected purposely. Hence, the film has displayed the subject’s life in a depressive way, making it depressed, banal, and even slightly distorted. This could be a severe problem of biopics in course of transformainglife from verbal signs to image signals. Also, Arendt’s life story is shadowed with doubtswhereininconsistencyappeare.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; the Eichman trial; “the banality of evil”; Martin Heidegger


Born in 1974, Si Ri, ethnic Mongolian, is Associate Editor of Biographical Literature.She received her Master of Arts degree from Minzu University of China. Her main research fields are modern and contemporary literature, and biographical theories and criticism. Among her publications,there are thethe Chinese translation of the Japanese scholar Kawasaki Osamu’sPublic Rehabilitation (Hebei Education Press, 2002),and papers like“Feng Xuefeng’s Regret in His Late Life”, “Second to None, Though Delicate Your Pen Appears,” to name a few.