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Film / A Hidden Life

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"I can't do what I believe is wrong."

A Hidden Life is a 2019 German-American historical drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick. It stars August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Jürgen Prochnow and Matthias Schoenaerts. Filming was completed in 2016, and the picture marks the last performances of both late actors Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz to be released.

In Nazi Germany during World War II, Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter (Diehl) is imprisoned after refusing to fight. His unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani and children keep his spirit alive.

It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2019 and was theatrically released on December 13, 2019 in Europe.

Previews: Trailer.


A Hidden Life provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Franz is brutalized in prison.
  • During the War: The story is set during World War II.
  • Farm Boy: Franz is seen doing farm work with his wife at their pasture in the Alps.
  • No True Scotsman: Franz is accused of being a "traitor to his race" by a staunch believer of National-Socialism from his village.
  • Raised Catholic: Franz is pious, going to the church, asking a priest then a bishop for advices, invoking God and praying.
  • Stock Footage: A famous footage from Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will is used, showing Adolf Hitler parading in Nuremberg in 1934 with the city's cathedral (the Frauenkirche) in the background.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: There's a scene with SA brownshirts gathering around a campfire, with the "wacky" part being an enthusiastic supporter who's dancing around the fire, shouting and throwing things in it.
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  • Train-Station Goodbye: Fani says goodbye to Franz as he's leaving onboard a train.


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