Terrence Malick debuted his new film, A Hidden Life, at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it was hailed as a return to form a director who’s spent the last several years knocking out A-list exercises in stream of consciousness like Song To Song and Knight Of Cups. There’s no big names to be found in A Hidden Life, which stars Inglourious Basterds’ August Diehl as an Austrian farmer who refuses to fight for the Nazis during World War II. Based on true events, the film is a timely one, exploring the ways in which honorable resistance can turn someone into a pariah in their own community.
While we praised aspects of the film, we wrote in our Cannes review that it “doesn’t operate all that differently than [Malick’s] recent, unscripted work,” which is unfortunate since his latter-day penchant for roving cameras and “near-constant, fluttering montage” may be “an insufficient approach to this true story of moral defiance, however closely its details dovetail with the director’s interests.”
Still, as the trailer makes clear, Malick’s vision is a sumptuous one, and he captures the village of St. Radegund in all its majesty. Consider it a sign that Malick’s director of photographer for A Hidden Life, Jörg Widmer, is as up to the task as longtime Malick collaborator Emmanuel Lubezki.
Here’s a synopsis:
Based on real events, from visionary writer-director Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani and children that keeps his spirit alive.
Per the trailer, the film will hit theaters in December.