This is a short letter of admiration and reflection.
I just watched A Hidden Life (2019). A cinematic Masterpiece, written and directed by Terrence Malick.
Quiet, intimate and brave – a film based on true events and a simple life of a simple, yet Godly man, that did what he believed was right and true to his Heart, against all seeming rationality and pressure of that time and environment. This is a story of silent courage and perseverance.
It may be uncomfortable to see and witness the injustice, suffering and doubt in life – but it is here. You may fear what comes next, you may fear for your family or your community – but you must do what is right, what is true to your Heart. This was the story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, husband and a father of three young girls, who was called up to serve the Nazi army during World War II. With his sound mind and soul he could not swear unconditional obedience and loyalty to regime’s dictator.
Each year there is a time where I visit these works of art, particularly films, which I deeply admire, and I am deeply touched by them every time – inside out. No coincidence that yesterday I revisited one of the most difficult stories – Schindler’s List (1993). Made decades apart and both telling difficult stories of war, hatred and injustice these films still bring a ray of hope, faith and love to humanity.
A great work of art moves you, captures you, makes you feel things that may have been there but unnoticed, it makes you question life’s eternal mysteries such as pain and joy, dive deeper into such paradoxes, and reflect all of it. It reminds you of everlasting values such as compassion, gratitude and kindness. A Hidden Life does not impose these values on you, it is the presence of the film, the beauty and silence of nature, juxtaposed with inhumanity of the war and the high spirit of Franz Jägerstätter. It is this human nature that really moves the mountains and hills even when all odds are against.
A Hidden Life is a life that we all live inside ourselves. A silent one, filled with moments of happiness that are most cherished when life throws difficulty at us. Choices we make, truth we follow, pleasures and sacrifices we all fall for make up this hidden, silent life. It is a life that may be simple and unrecognized and without reward. But it is a life that Franz lived.
It takes tremendous sacrifice and something that is beyond courage to stand up to the truth and do what is right.
This film is a journey, a contemplation and a meditation of it all.
What will you discover?