‘Eichmann is no Mephisto!’ Reflections on Margarethe von Trotta’s ‘Hannah Arendt’

Can films offer significant, worthy insights into matters constitutional? “At first glance, the differences between law and film appear striking. One could argue that while law is a system of organized power, commercial film is constituted by an economics of pleasure. One is an authoritative, normative, centralistic, coercive system; the other, a world of amusing, escapist, popular-cultural artefacts. However, from a more nuanced socio-cultural perspective, law and film are two of contemporary society’s dominant cultural formations, two prominent vehicles for the chorus through which society narrates and creates itself.” (Orit Kamir)

So much for the theory. Even more importantly, and from a more concrete perspective, we find many of our esteemed authors and readers truly passionate about film. We meet them in packed cinemas during the Berlinale, and we discuss with them new releases over a glass of wine. But how does their interest in cinematic storytelling and visual imaginaries relate to their interests in law and constitutional matters?

Margarethe von Trottas “Hannah Arendt”, a film about a political theorist and a trial that changed history, much discussed among lawyers and political theorists, finally prompted us to open our virtual pages for musings on law and film – and to encourage our authors and readers to write for us about their cineastic experiences and adventures.

The editors.


According to the new Hannah Arendt film, the roots of the controversy over Hannah Arendt’s report on the Eichmann trial of 1961 lay in her first impressions. Right at the beginning of the trial, her oldest friend, Kurt Blumenfeld, remarks during a walk through the old city of Jerusalem, “ha, now you’ve finally seen the predator.” Arendt hesitates and then tells him how both strange and estranging she found her encounter with Eichmann in the courtroom ...

Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK