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Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen Reviews

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Andrew
January 13, 2011
Forgivably dry, but unforgivably shallow, this partial biography doesn't extend its reaches out into any recognizable profundity - quite unlike the actions of Hildegard von Bingen herself. This simple depiction of her life through action doesn't paint a clear picture of her impact and statement in either her monastical or literal existence. The film suffers from annoying stylistic and plot repetitions, drudge dialogue, and excessive dramatization, and thus steers away from even an expressionist composure of von Bingen's life and the impact that it's had on others. It's failure to cohere in either a religious or secular fashion is product only of the film's deficiency as a mechanism for delivering a message - one well worth delivering.
January 10, 2011
what an amazin movie. Was spellbounded by the story and great acting. This is a must must see.
January 9, 2011
I was familiar with this nun because of her music...the film concentrated more on her feministic and healing attributes.....I wanted more music......
Jarred R. Kamin
December 11, 2010
Quick Review:

6.5/10.

It's a rare thing to witness in modern American culture: a film that attempts to be respectful of a nun who lived in the early 1000's A.D., and who claimed to receive messages from God. Hildegard von Bingen was certainly no ordinary woman, a great leader of her fellow Sisters in Christ, as well as a paragon of ancient Christian mysticism she was a true leader. Unfortunately, this film doesn't do her life justice, nor will it convince many people of her sincerity rather than the probability of her lunacy.

Margarethe von Trotta's screenplay is faithful to key events in the life of Mother Hildegard, but unfortunately convoluted. The images and plot devices on screen weave in and out of one another without a consistent through-line and without artistic restraint, lending for an ultimately sloppy delivery of an otherwise complete story of her life, from birth to death.
Even in other areas this film confused me, as half of the scenes were filmed beautifully, with gorgeous landscape shots and tactful camera angles to emphasize emotion and even a sense of Gregorian spirituality in ancient Christendom. But then the other half of the film contained almost laughably messy shots, fast-zooms, shaky camerawork, etc.
This, of course, visually caused a downfall to otherwise beautiful set and costume design. The art direction in "Vision" was truly beautiful, with close attention to period-wary detail as well as wholesomely natural surroundings, reflecting Hildegard's own love of nature itself.
Barbara Sukowa shines as Hildegard von Bingen, clearly an experienced and commanding German actress. She makes for a rather inspiring-looking leader, with her piercing gaze, her surefire delivery of lines, and the graceful poise with which she went about her daily duties as magistra to a cloister of soon-to-be-nuns.

In the end, an unusual script and uneven camera work (as well as the glorification of someone who most likely had schizophrenia) lead to an otherwise well-made film feeling more messy than inspirational. Not to mention the strange hollowness that seems to pervade a story that is meant to be spiritually rich. The true redeeming qualities of this somewhat disappointing but still partially well-constructed work, are the rare moments of visual beauty, and Sukowa's commanding performance.
366weirdmovies
366weirdmovies

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2010
Biopic on the life of the fascinating 12th century Bendectine nun who saw visions of God and was also a composer, philosopher, polymath, and a strong-willed woman who often butted heads with the Church's male hierarchy. Amazing in it's ability to draw you into its now alien world and get you involved with clerical politics and the slow, quiet rhythms of cloistered life.
November 26, 2010
It moved me to tears.
November 27, 2010
Hildegard comes to life in a pitch perfect performance by Barbara Sukowa. Margarethe von Trotta emphasizes Hildgard's bold stands against the male dominated cloister society without slighting the religious.
November 17, 2010
I understand this is playing at the Laemmle in Pasadena. I would love to see it, but will probably have to wait until it's available on Netflix.
November 13, 2010
definitely checking out this movie!
November 12, 2010
Exquisite film, directed by the great Margarethe von
Trotta with superb performances by all. . Hildegard of Bingen was a tour de force of prophecy, healing, and herbalism who challenged the church's social structure at a time when heresy was a life-threatening endeavor.Still, her devotion to nature and its' healing aspects won favor amongst her community to which she gained many followers. Hildegard of Bingen was a fascinating and courageous woman and "Vision" is a touching tribute to her legacy.
November 11, 2010
One of the best historical dramas I have seen since the great classics made for TV, like "I Claudius" .
November 5, 2010
Going to see it tonight,let you know how I liked it tomorrow.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2010
"Vision" starts on December 31, 999 with a group of people fearing the end of the world with the Y1K virus, huddled together praying, expecting not to wake up in the morning.(I have heard of people who had hangovers so massive they almost wish they hadn't woken up but that's something else entirely.) They get a pleasant surprise when they do.

Into this world of ignorance walks Hildegard von Bingen(Barbara Sukowa) who at the age of eight is given over to the care of a cloister. 30 years later and she is about to be appointed magistra but claims ill health and anyway her fellow nuns should vote for her which they do almost unanimously. Along with her spiritual duties, she becomes interested in medicine and studies how music can also be used to heal the body. And then the visions kick in which she confesses to Brother Volmar(Heino Ferch), resulting with her being threatened with the charge of heresy.

Written and directed by Margarethe von Trotta, "Vision" is an engaging look at an amazing woman who was way ahead of her time, depicted not as a saint, but as a flawed human being. With the exception of the Arabic world, the Church had most of the accumulated learning which Hildegard used her skills to negotiate access to for her and her nuns. With this learning, she started the slow walk out of the dark ages into a new world of knowledge. And part of that comes with having respect for and knowledge of the body.(Unless you're getting off on it, I have never understood self-flagellation.)
October 17, 2010
I used one of her images for the tattoo on my back. nothing religious about it - just a lovely image and now... 12th century mystics are ... suddenly interesting...?
October 7, 2010
I went to Goa awhile back, and all of the restaurants "specialized" in Mexican - Indian - Pizza - Italian - Etc Etc. This nun reminds me of that: "Benedictine nun was a Christian mystic, composer, philosopher, playwright, poet, naturalist, scientist, physician, herbalist and ecological activist." I think the best word is "generalist."
October 3, 2010
This is a beautiful film in German with English subtitles. It offers a view of medieval life of nuns - with a feminist perspective, though I would say in the best sense. Barbara Sukowa is brilliant. As I have been saying, Hildegard was a Renaissance woman in the Middle Ages. Not a lot of insight on her mystical experiences, however. At the end, you will like Hildegard of Bingen even as you question some of the customs that writer/director Von Trotta chooses to include.
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