One of the best movies I saw at this year’s Telluride Film Festival was Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life — a narrative based on the life of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian contentious objector who refused to raise right hand to Hitler. It cost him his life and burdened his family. And for what? He stopped no war, inspired no rebellion, and his story was largely lost to history.
A Hidden Life concludes with a quote from Middlemarch, written by Mary Ann Evans (working under the pen name 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.
Evan/Eliot’s quote and Malick’s movie rang like a bell while I watched Official Secrets, particularly the scene where Katherine Gun’s leaked email is printed in The Guardian. Granted, Official Secrets isn’t nearly as good as A Hidden Life, but it is much better than the usual “based on a true story” fodder. More in this week’s Boulder Weekly.