It’s easier to follow the crowd. It’s harder to follow your gut and go against the grain, even if that means putting your freedom and your life at stake.
The new film, A Hidden Life, tells the true story of Franz Jägerstätter. Franz (August Diehl) and his wife, Fani (Valerie Pachner) are farmers. Living in rural Austria during World War II, they have three children. Then Franz is called to serve his country.
But there is a catch. Every man who serves must swear loyalty to the Nazi Fuhrer. Franz’s conscious tells him that he cannot make such a statement. This refusal sends Franz to prison and potentially, to his death.
Written and directed by Terrence Malick, this film is as much a message on respecting your instinct as it is to honor the memory of its subject.
The problem with this movie is that is far too long. It is 180 minutes from opening credits to closing credits. As much as I understood where Mr. Malick was going as a writer and a director, he could have cut it down by an hour and it would have been fine as is.
Though the visuals were stunning and the narrative format was interesting, it cannot overcome more screentime than was necessary.
The holiday season, (regardless of which holiday you celebrate), is about family, coming together and taking the time to appreciate the good things in your life.
It is not a time to hate and kill.
Last night was the 7th night of Chanukah. It was also the sight of hatred and bloodshed. In Monsey, a stranger entered Rabbi Rottenburg’s shul and started stabbing members of the congregation who were in attendance. Five were stabbed, two of those injured in the attack were the Rabbi’s young children.
This is hate, nothing more. This is Orthodox Jews being attacked because they are Orthodox Jews.
If the purpose of the attack was to make all Jews nervous, regardless of how religious they are, the perpetrator won. Though his specific target was Orthodox Jews are who obviously Jewish, his general target was the American Jewish community.
In the Holocaust, six million Jews were slaughtered because they were Jews. It did not matter if they were ultra-orthodox, Jewish in name only or somewhere in between. They were still murdered.
If his goal was to make me nervous, to hide who I am, he failed. I am proud of my faith and proud of my culture. I will always be a Jew, nothing and no one will ever change that.
I pray for the speedy recovery of the victims and the harshest punishment possible for the perpetrator.