Vision – From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen
Directed by Margarethe von Trotta
Starring Barbara Sukowa, Hannah Herzsprung and Heino Ferch
Released in Germany in 2009, now released in the United States in German with English subtitles.
Hildegard von Bingen was truly a woman ahead of her time. A visionary in every sense of the word, this famed was a Christian mystic,
In Vision – from the Life of Hildegard von Bingen, German director Margarethe von Trotta tells the story of the famous 12th-century Benedictine nun who was known not only as a medieval visionary, but had a wide varierty of talents – including composer, philosopher, playwright, poet, naturalist, scientist, physician, herbalist and ecological activist.
The lead role is played Barbara Sukowa, and the filming was done in the original medieval cloisters of the German countryside.
Official Synopsis: A child of a wealthy German family, Hildegard is handed over to a Benedictine Monastery at the age of 8. Taught in the arts of herbal medicine, reading and writing by her mentor Jutta von Sponheim, she quickly excels in all. When Jutta dies, Hildegard is horrified by evidence of self-flagellation on her body and vows to change the ways of the order.
Hildegard becomes the abbess of the convent and by subtly using her intelligence and diplomacy begins to change the laws from the highest level. Since childhood she has had powerful visions that she records. Certain that these mystic perceptions are messages from God, she mentions them to her superior, without fear of the obvious scepticism and suspicion of heresy from the Christian order. The Pope grants her his support and allows her to publish the written accounts of her revelations. With this, Hildegard’s life takes a new turn. Allowed to build her own convent — the monastery of Saint Rupertsberg at Bingen — she invents a revolutionary and humanist approach to devotion.
A Multitasking Nun in Medieval Germany – movie review by the New York Times – “Ms. Sukowa makes Hildegard a likable and charismatic woman who risks a great deal to do good in an environment that leaves women little room for self-expression. Her intelligence and enthusiasm make her a proto-feminist force to be reckoned with.”
Hildegard Von Bingen, A Nun With A ‘Vision’ – movie review by NPR – “this stately but inert biopic wakes up only when von Bingen becomes less of a singing-nun superstar and more of a human unglued by her own flaws.”
We thank Zeitgeist Films for providing us with the material for this section.