“A Hidden Life” Preaches a Profound Gospel in Few Words Podcast by John Stonestreet and Maria Baer for Break Point
A substantial part of Terrence Malick’s latest movie “A Hidden Life” takes place in a German prison where the film’s protagonist, a real historical figure now considered a Catholic saint, Franz Jägerstätter, is being held in prison for refusing to swear a loyalty oath to Hitler. As he mills about the prison courtyard with his fellow inmates, two words loom large on the stone wall that fences them in: “Sprechen Verboten.” Speaking prohibited.
Rod Dreher, senior editor at the American Conservative, has called “A Hidden Life,” “the best evocation of the gospel ever put to film.” That’s a serious claim to make. And I might agree.
Malick, a director known for transportive cinematography, takes viewers into the remote Austrian village of St. Radegund in the early 1940s. There, Franz, his wife Fani, and their three small daughters, faithfully farm their land and faithfully attend the local Catholic Church. When Franz hears about Hitler’s conquests, he begins to worry. His worst fears are realized when he’s called up for military service but refuses to swear the required oath to the Führer. Ultimately, Franz Jägerstätter was imprisoned, tortured, and ultimately, executed.