Directed by: Margarethe von Trotta | 111 minutes | drama | Actors: Barbara Sukowa, Heino Ferch, Hannah Herzsprung, Gerald Alexander Held, Lena Stolze, Sunnyi Melles, Paula Kalenberg, Mareile Blendl, Vera Lippisch, Annemarie Düringer, Devid Striesow, Tristan Seith, Nicole Unger
Anyone who expects “Vision: Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen” to be a filmed biography will feel cheated after seeing this feature film by Margarethe von Trotta. The film simply deals with too few aspects of the life of this versatile and special woman to satisfy.
Since director Margarethe von Trotta focuses on only a few aspects of the life of Hildegard von Bingen in the film, the viewer often misses the connection between the different events. In addition, the characters are not or hardly introduced. The speed with which they appear and disappear on the scene also makes it almost necessary that some prior knowledge of this piece of history is required. The script also lacks the necessary depth. Problems are often solved with a letter or a short conversation, while the impact of the decision has major consequences, which in turn are not explored. The same goes for the visions that Hildegard von Bingen is said to have. We see and hear her dictate the visions, but that’s where it ends. The consequences of these visions are not further explained.
The acting level is acceptable but not compelling. Barbara Sukowa scores more than satisfactory with her portrayal of Hildegard von Bingen, but nevertheless she is unable to draw the viewer into the story. The arrival of Richardis, played by Hannah Herzsprung, does provide new impetus in a film in which the plot is clearly subordinate to the images. “Vision: Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen” is simply a beautiful-looking and highly romanticized costume drama, in which director Margarethe von Trotta shows she has an eye for detail, light and composition. However, the beautiful images ensure that the attention is somewhat diverted from the shortcomings in the script she wrote herself.