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Hildegard of Bingen (1994)



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Documentary | Drama





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Omnibus: Hildegard  »

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Great location shots but disjointed script
19 April 2002 | by (Canada NW) – See all my reviews

Dramatization of the later life of Hildegard of Bingen - intellectual, visionary, a poet, composer, naturalist, healer and theologian - she has never been officially canonized but many regard her as having achieved sainthood and refer to her as St. Hildegard.

In 1141 Hildegard was part of the community of St. Disibod in Germany's Rhineland. By 1150 she was on her way to Rupertsberg near Bingen to found her own convent.

This film covers the period of her life during those years, in which she endured the greatest conflict. It also clearly portrays her great compassion towards her fellow human beings, her modesty and her ardent faith.

As punishment for her compassionate treatment of an excommunicated Crusader she is deprived of her music and takes to her bed for 6 months. Subsequently she is interrogated by senior church officials who question the veracity of her visions (at the Synod of Trier in 1148).

Hildegard is famous not only for her knowledge of herbs but also for her choral works exhalting Christ which are beautifully sung in this film.

Patricia Routledge does her excellent best with a rather disjointed script and the result is a fair rendition of a remarkable woman who did so much more than is portrayed. The film is much too short (50 minutes), is obviously based completely on fact and shot entirely on location in a cold monastery/castle (you can see their breath when they talk! - I rather liked that).

With a little re-editing to make it flow more evenly I would have graded this an 8 but as it stands I'm only awarding a 6. Watch it only if you are extremely keen on the Medieval era and already know some of the background - otherwise you'll be totally lost.

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