A Hidden Life
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A Hidden Life is a historical drama film that is based on true life events of Austrian farmer, Franz Jagerstatter, who followed his conscience and convictions and refused to join the Nazi army in World War II, despite knowing the grave consequences that come with such a decision. Franz believed that the actions of the Nazis were evil, as they were killing the innocent in the prosecution of their cause, and as a devout catholic and Christian, their actions were contrary to his beliefs and he didn’t want to be a part of it. He turned himself in to the authorities and was tried and tortured to rescind his decision, but he did not and paid the ultimate price with his life. He believed that though God gave man free will, each man must act responsibly and be accountable to God for all that he does.

A Hidden Life’s Release Date

The movie premiered at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in May 19, 2019. It was successful at the festival as it won 2 awards from 3 categories that it was nominated for. The film will be released officially in the United States of America on December 13, 2019; while fans and viewers in the United Kingdom and elsewhere will have to wait till January 17, 2020, for its official release there.

The Cast of A Hidden Life

The movie has an array of interesting cast members. It has a combination of both German and English actors. August Diehl played the lead character of Franz Jagerstatter. As aforementioned, the film is based on the true-life story of Franz, a devout catholic and husband, father of 3 beautiful children and peasant Australian farmer who decided not to fight for the German army in the Second World War.

In  A Hidden Life Franz, being a devout catholic struggled with the idea and morality of fighting in the war, and despite several attempts by his family, community and even his pastor and Bishop (who advised him to join the war to preserve his life for his family’s sake) aimed at convincing him to join the war, he refused to enlist in the army and was beheaded by the Nazis.

A Hidden Life
August Diehl and Valerie Pachner at the premiere of ‘A Hidden Life’ at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, southern France

After his death, the Catholic church chose to honor him for his beliefs as he was beatified as a saint. Valerie Pachner featured as Franziska Jagerstatter – the wife of Franz. She is a devoted wife, who promised and stood by her husband through it all. The other cast members of the film include Michael Nyqvist, Jurgen Prochnow, Mathias Schoeneaerts, Bruno Ganz, Alexander Fehling, Martin Wuttke, Maria Simon, Tobias Moretti, Ulrich Mathes, Karl Markovics and a few others in minor roles.

A Hidden Truth was written and directed by Terrence Malick, and cinematography was by Jorg Widmer. It had a production budget of about $8 million, but after it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival, it was acquired by Fox Searchlight Pictures for about $13 million.

Ratings

The rating given to A Hidden Life by the Motion Picture Association of America is PG – 13. The rating is a warning to Parents and Guardians that the contents of the movie may be unsuitable for their children and wards that are below 13. A Hidden Life is a movie set in the time of war, and it contains scenes of violence and even executions that may leave viewers younger than 13 traumatized.

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Production and Reception

A Hidden Life was shot in a few locations sometime in 2016. Locations included Studio Babelsberg in Germany, Sappada – a small Italian mountain village and a few place places in South Tyrol in Italy. The movie was well-received at the Cannes Film Festival, as evidenced by the awards, and RottenTomatoes – sampling more than 50 reviews of the movie gave it an aggregate rating of 79%. Metacritic, also gave it an average rating of 76 out of 100, with most of the critics and reviewers giving it positive reviews.

A Hidden Life’s Nominations and Awards

On May 25, 2019, the movie and it’s director won both the Price of the Ecumenical Jury and Francois Chalais Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It received another nomination in the Palme D’Or category – the highest award at the festival, but it lost out to the film Parasite won by South Korean director, Bong Joon-ho.

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