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Review: Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen

A conventional, bare-bones sister act
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  November 3, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

 

Hildegard von Bingen was one of the exceptional individuals of her day, a Benedictine nun and magistra, a mystic, a theologian, an illuminator, a composer, and the author of a handbook on medicine. Oh, and a feminist. Unfortunately, that day was back in the 12th century, so German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta had little to work with, and indeed what's she's turned out is a bare-bones bio-pic that's long on politics (most notably when Hildegard defies the abbot of her monastery and takes her nuns across the Rhine to establish their own convent) and short on Hildegard's visions and especially her music (which includes a morality drama, Ordo virtutum, that's uncomfortably prescient). What's more, Barbara Sukowa in the title role is serious to a fault. Trotta does develop some jealous tension in the pull between Hildegard and her friend Richardis von Stade (Hannah Herzsprung) when Richardis's mother (Sunnyi Melles) wants her daughter to become magistra at another convent. But for the most part, Vision offers conventional wisdom — just what Hildegard didn't.

  Topics: Reviews , Movies, Hildegard von Bingen, movie review,  More more >
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