Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

General Information

Israel, Canada, 2015| Documentary, 124 min.
Director: Ada Ushpiz
Producers: Ina Fichman, Ada Ushpiz
Executive Producers: Hedva Goldschmidt, Stefan Pannen
Involved Broadcasters: Channel 8 Israel, SRC Canada, WDR/ARTE, SVT, RTS


"Highly thought-provoking…", Sneak Film


"A masterpiece of documentary filmmaking that delves deep rather than whitewash…"   Shany Littman, Ha'aretz


"… the ultimate choice of the controversial as the place from which to illuminate Arendt’s greatness." Yitzchak Laor, Ha'aretz


"A wonderful tribute to one of the most important women thinkers of the 20th century",


Hannah Arendt, a well-known German-Jewish philosopher, caused a great uproar in the 1960s by coining the subversive concept of the "banality of evil" when referring to the Nazi evil. Her private life was no less controversial thanks to her love affair with a renowned German philosopher and Nazi supporter Martin Heidegger. She was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century who both lived through and wrote about the open wounds of modern times. Arendt's insights about the nature of evil, the plight of refugees and dangers of any ideology sound today more relevant than ever. The deep humanistic message at the core of her thinking is no less relevant.

The film offers an intricate portrait of Hannah Arendt as we travel to places where she lived, worked, loved and was betrayed. Through the creative use of archival materials, the film also revives her brilliant analysis of the turmoil of the 20th century.


Festivals and Awards


Award for Best documentary on Literature, Master of Art Film Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria 2017

Special Mention by Student Jury, Sole Luna Film Festival, Italy, 2016

Best Editing Award, Sole Luna Film Festival, Italy, 2016

Winner of the Documentary Film Award, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2016



New Zealand International Film Festival, New Zealand, 2016
Malta Festival Poznan, Poland, 2016
Seoul International Women's Film Festival, Korea, 2016
DocuTIFF, Albania, 2016
Filmmor Women's FF on Wheels, Turkey, 2016
EDOC, Ecuador, 2016
Sole Luna Film Festival, Italy, 2016
King's College London, UK, 2016
Kriterion Art House, Holland, 2016
Human Rights IFF Paris (FIFDH), France, 2016
Film IsReal Holland, Holland, 2016
Isratim Paris, France, 2016
Copenhagen JFF, Denmark, 2016
Göteborg Film Festival, Sweden, 2016

Film Forum NY, from April 6, 2016

Laemmle Theaters Los Angeles, from April 29, 2016

CMU Intl Film Fest, March 2016

It's All True Film Festival, Brazil, April 2016

Gainesville Jewish Film Festival, March 2016

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, February 2016

Official Competition Santa Barbara IFF,  February 2016
Official Selection Goteborg Film Festival, 2016
Official Selection Filmmor Women’s Film Festival, Istanbul 2016
Official Selection, FIFDH Geneva, 2016
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, 2016
IDFA, Panorama, November 2015
Official Competition Kasseler Dok Fest, Germany, November 2015
Official Competition Jerusalem International Film Festival, July 2015
Official Competition Munich Film Fest, Germany, June 2015


Director and Writer: Ada Ushpiz
Producers: Ina Fichman, Ada Ushpiz
Co-Writer: Michel Tanguay
Editor: Hadas Ayalon
Directors of Photography: Itai Neeman, German Gutierrez, Philippe Lavalette, Zachary Halberd
Original music : John Wilson
Executive Producers: Hedva Goldschmidt, Stefan Pannen
Advisor: Prof. Idith Zertal


Festivals in Krakow and Jerusalem Feature Karski and Arendt, by Annette Insdorf, Director of Undergraduate Film Studies at Columbia University


Hannah Arendt: The Power of Thinking, by Terri Murry in Sp!ked Review



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