Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century Benedictine nun, has been embraced by feminists for her groundbreaking leadership in the Catholic Church: despite a rigidly patriarchal culture, she founded monasteries, advanced herbal medicine, published original music and literature, and embarked on unprecedented preaching tours of her native Germany. She seems like the perfect subject for filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta, who’s directed several fact-based accounts of renegade women (Marianne and Juliane, Rosa Luxemburg, Rosenstrasse). But like many secular-minded accounts of religious figures, this admiring, well-upholstered biopic (2009) never establishes a coherent perspective on the protagonist’s faith; von Bingen owed her influence in the Church not to her worldly accomplishments but to her mystical visions, which von Trotta mainly ignores and certainly never dramatizes onscreen. Barbara Sukowa, the director’s frequent collaborator and fellow Fassbinder alumnus, stars. In German and Latin with subtitles.
Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen
NR • 1 hour 51 min • 2010