Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nature Documentary Review- BBC Earth Series Life

The BBC Earth series Life is an amazing series. If you love nature, you will absolutely love this fascinating, entertaining and informative series, which allows you to see nature like you've never seen it before.

I do believe that BBC has done some of the most fantastic nature documentary series. The work they do is so outstanding! Sometimes nothing beats watching a really good nature documentary!

The mammals episode is so entertaining. The meerkats are so cute. It's not hard to understand how the series Meerkat Manor got to be such a successful series.
Here's a funny video clip of the meerkats:

 A Cool Clip from Life:
Stalk-eyed fly:

Flying Fish clip:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hannah Arendt, German Jewish Philosopher

This film is directed by German director Margarethe Von Trotta. She has also done other films with actress Barbara Sukowa, who's also German and portrays Hannah Arendt, the German Jewish Philosopher who studied and had a love affair with Martin Heidegger. BTW, Sukowa also portrayed Abbess Hildegard Von Bingen in Vision. Hildegard was quite a Renaissance woman for her time even though she was a nun. She was a healer, writer, composer and artist.

If you understand French, here's an interesting French documentary about Hildegard von Bingen:

One of the most beautiful examples of medieval music I've ever heard is an album of her recorded music titled A Feather on the Breath of God.
Here's another video I found online related to Hildegard:

I must apologize as I digressed, and this post is about the film Hannah Arendt.

The main plot of this film is about Hannah going to Israel and reporting on on the trial of Eichmann who was kidnapped and brought there to stand trial.

She writes a book titled Eichmann in Jerusalem and the New Yorker publishes her articles.

Many people are very upset by what she writes, especially by the fact that some Jewish leaders may have participated in the deportation and extermination of Jewish people. She was even pressured by superiors to resign her position as a professor. Despite the controversy, her classes were filled!

Arendt had left Germany for France with her husband and his mother. While there, she was imprisoned in Gurs, an internment camp for Jews in France. She was fortunate enough to escape just before a number of women were shipped off to Auschwitz. Through Hiram Bingham, she, her husband Heinrich and his mother were able to get visas to go to the United States.

One of the most touching elements in this film was the love between Hannah and her husband Heinrich. The love they had for each other was very, very special. Anyone who has such a love is very, very lucky in love!

Sukowa first got her big breaks into film working with German actor/writer/director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Some quotes from the film:

"You told everyone how smart and brave I was to escape from Gurs. ...Many women stayed for fear their husbands wouldn't find them if they left the camp. ...While it was still summer and warm we hoped it would soon be over. But then the waiting. More and more women let themselves go, stopped combing their hair. Stopped washing themselves. Just lay there on their straw sacks. I tried to encourage them. Sometimes I was strict, sometimes friendly. But then, one evening it had rained all day and the straw sacks were falling apart. I suddenly lost my courage. I was so tired. So tired that I wanted to leave the world that I so loved. And in that instant I saw you in front of me. How you'd look for me and not find me."-Hannah to Heinrich

Conversation between Hannah and Kurt about Eichmann:

"He's so different than I imagined." -Hannah
"He was with the SS. They're scary creatures."-Kurt
"But he's not. That's precisely it. He sits in his glass cage like a ghost. A ghost who happens to have a cold. He's not spooky at all. He's a nobody. ...He speaks in this awful bureaucratic language. He suddenly says things like: "I feel like a rump steak that's being grilled..."Incredible!"-Hannah

"The State of Israel bought four plane tickets to tell me that? You must have money to burn to waste it like that."-Hannah reply to Siegfried when he tells her he's there to request her to stop publication of her book on Eichmann.

"But, Kurt, you know me. I've never loved any people. Why should I love the Jews? I only love my friends That's the only love I'm capable of. Kurt, I love you."-Hannah to her friend Kurt Blumenfeld

"...That he had only obeyed orders. This typical Nazi plea makes it clear that the greatest evil in the world is the evil committed by nobodies. Evil committed by men without motive. Without convictions. Without wicked hearts or demonic wills. By human beings who refuse to be persons. And it is this phenomenon that I have called the banality of evil."-Hannah to her class

"Trying to understand is not the same as forgiveness. I see it as my responsibility to understand. It is the responsibility of anyone who dares to put pen to paper on the subject. Since Socrates and Plato we usually call thinking "to be engaged in that silent dialogue between me and myself." In refusing to be a person, Eichmann utterly surrendered that single most defining human quality: that of being able to think. And consequently, he was no longer capable of making moral judgments. This inability to think created the possibility for many ordinary men to commit evil deeds on a gigantic scale, the like of which one had never seen before. It is true. I have considered these questions in a philosophical way. The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge, but the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly. And I hope that thinking gives people the strength to prevent catastrophes in these rare moments when the chips are down."-Hannah to her class

Here are a few scenes from this film:

Here's the official trailer:

Warning: There's quite a lot of smoking in this film. After all, this was during the sixties, when many people were smokers. Check out my previous post with an article on smoking in films. BTW, Hannah Arendt died after having a heart attack. I wonder if there was any connection with her habit of smoking.