A Hidden Life

2019 Cannes Film Festival Winner ~ François Chalais Prize

Terrence Malick’s lyrical, haunting film A Hidden Life is based on a true story. Its title is inspired by a George Eliot quote, about the meaningful lives lived by people that history doesn’t remember. One such life is that of Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), an Austrian peasant farmer who lived in an idyllic mountain village with his wife, Fani (Valerie Pachner), and three young daughters at the start of World War II. Called to fight for the Nazis, he refused to swear a loyalty oath to Hitler and was imprisoned, facing execution for treason.  With Fani left to toil alone on the farm, the couple wrote impassioned letters to each another during Franz’s imprisonment.

This quiet, meditative film is at once historical drama, love story and ode to nature. A Hidden Life lets us savour all the things that Franz loved and lost, the beauty that returns every year. “Fresh green grass”, he writes in a letter to Fani, “is good for a person. Someone with freedom might not notice it.”

– Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

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