Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

A Hidden Life

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Likely, you have never heard of Franz Jagerstatter. This unfamiliarity with the central character is where the newest film by Terrence Malick gets its name. It is taken from a quote by George Eliot.

“..for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

For anyone familiar with the films of Terrence Malick, the style of A Hidden Life will be quite familiar. It is a film with spectacular cinematography and sparse dialogue. Like some of his other films, it is a work of beauty that demands careful attention from the viewer.

A Hidden Life presents the story of Franz Jagerstatter an Austrian citizen who opposed World War II and refused to take the Hitler Oath. The reason for his opposition was religious and this is made clear in the film. Stories like Jagerstatter’s are incredible, but they are not unique. There are others like his. People view these stories in different ways. If a major studio in Hollywood was given this script, it would likely become the next Hacksaw Ridge. This is because stories of heroism are wildly popular. Thankfully, Malick resists the urge to sell lots of tickets and chooses instead to reflect on why someone would choose to become a martyr.

Rather than heroism, the focus of A Hidden Life is on faithfulness. Because of this, it is one of the most Christian films one will see. Like the writings of Bonhoeffer, whose life had several things in common with Jagerstatter, it asks us to count the cost of discipleship. Although the dialogue is sparse, it is purposeful. Every sentence is packed with meaning. This is clear in one line from the film reflecting on the status of Christians. “We create admirers. We don’t create followers.” The dialogue in A Hidden Life is not there just to fill space. It is there to penetrate hearts and minds and cause people to reflect on their own lives.

For some, A Hidden Life may be a challenge to take in since it is unlike most films. It is long. It is not filled with action or dialogue. It is not designed for people with short attention spans. Instead, it is a work of art that must be contemplated. It is not just the content of the film that is counter-cultural, it is the film itself. In a busy world that seeks to distract us every second, A Hidden Life invites us to turn off our phones and pay attention to the beauty that is right in front of us.

 

One Response to “A Hidden Life”

  1. I’ll watch literally anything that’s directed by Malick. He’s so brilliant. Thanks for the review


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