Terrence Malick isn’t necessarily known for making movies that are easy to parse through, especially when he’s eschewing structured storytelling. But it seems he’s going in a different direction.
His new film, which was first called Radegund before being renamed A Hidden Life, is slowly taking shape — and, in a change for the director, will be told linearly. The first trailer for the film neatly encapsulates exactly what the story is about, leaving out Malick’s penchant for lingering landscape shots in order to provide a clear look at August Diehl as real-life conscientious objector, Franz Jägerstätter.
The crux of Jägerstätter’s story — that he refused to fight for Hitler and endured prison and punishment for the sake of doing what he believed was right — is one that feels particularly relevant in today’s fraught political climate. “If our leaders, if they are evil, what does one do?” he asks in the trailer, as he questions both his actions and the effect they have on his family, who are rendered outcasts by association.
The film, which played this year’s Cannes Film Festival, also features Bruno Ganz in his final on-screen appearance before his death.
A Hidden Life hits theaters on Dec. 13.