Margarethe von Trotta
, one of the most celebrated female directors in the German cinema, pays homage to another remarkable woman in this screen biography of 12th century Renaissance woman Hildegard von Bingen. Hildegard (Barbara Sukowa
) came to live at the Disibodenberg abbey when she was a youngster, and grew up under the watchful but compassionate eye of Jutta the Holy (Mareile Blendl). In her teens, Hildegard became a nun and was known among her peers for her generous nature and desire to help others; she developed a talent for formulating herbal medicine as well as gift for composing music, and after three decades she was selected to become a magistra at the abbey. Hildegard was born during a time when women were expected to serve and not to preach, but she fearlessly began speaking to others about her religious visions, which she used as a vehicle to share lessons in faith in a manner that circumvented the rules. Hildegard also fearlessly denounced the violent self-abasement that was common among holy men and women of her day, believing that a faith born of kindness and devotion was more valuable than that which came from fear and pain. While Hildegard won may friends through her work, she also gained more than a few enemies, and while some denounced her for not restricting herself to the traditional role of a woman in the church, others contended that her holy visions were not the work of the Lord, but of the Devil. Vision
was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.