Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen (2009)
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Average Rating: 7/10
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Average Rating: 3.6/5
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Hildegard von Bingen was truly a woman ahead of her time. A visionary in every sense of the word, this famed 12th-century Benedictine nun was a Christian mystic, composer, philosopher, playwright, poet, naturalist, scientist, physician, herbalist and ecological activist. In Vision, New German Cinema auteur Margarethe von Trotta (Marianne and Juliane, Rosa Luxemburg, Rosenstrasse) reunites with recurrent star Barbara Sukowa (Zentropa, Berlin Alexanderplatz) to bring the story of this
Oct 13, 2010 Limited
Apr 19, 2011
Zeitgeist Films - Official Site
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There was obviously much to this woman, yet somehow Visions feels curiously empty feeling.
Vision is shot through with issues of power - personal, political, spiritual. Which makes it a terrifically resonant work.
Barbara Sukowa brings her veteran presence to the role, and nicely fuses its dual nature, holy instrument and holy terror, the passive vessel of a higher power and the active force of the good mother.
Although this true story offers numerous opportunities for skepticism and irony, director Margarethe von Trotta accords Hildegard the respect of a proto-feminist forebear and frames her in golden light like a Vermeer painting.
It's hard to muster more than curious indifference to Margarethe von Trotta's "Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen."
What we have here is the story of a very cool nun from a thousand years ago.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Vision is didactic and a bit stilted-although to be fair, so are most mainstream biopics rehashing historical events more familiar than this one, which presents its subject as a rousing protofeminist.
Sukowa gives Hildegard intriguing complexity and an almost irresistible charisma ... but the great [film] about this woman who embraced faith, art, and science is yet to arrive.
Von Trotta and Sukowa create a very nuanced study of Hildegard, one that imbues the figure with human foibles in a number sufficient to keep at bay any hagiographic impulses.
A reasonably effective presentation of the director's feminist view of a fascinating medieval figure, though one that's very deliberate in pacing and visually quite severe.
A medieval pre-feminist nun who poked a few holes in the stained glass ceiling. Though there's little elbow room for nonbeliever audience comfort zones. And while Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Hildegard led the nuns out of a horny monastery.
Vision takes a serious and mostly positive view of spirituality without uniformly endorsing the established Church, which is shown as a male-dominated political and business enterprise as much as a keeper of souls.
For the most part, Vision offers conventional wisdom -- just what Hildegard didn't.
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