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Alexander E. Fennon,
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18th century Vienna. Maria Theresia von Paradis, a gifted piano player and close friend of Mozart's, lost her eye-sight as a child. Desperate to cure their talented daughter, the Paradis entrust Maria to Dr. Mesmer, a forward-thinking-physician who gives her the care and attention that she requires. With the doctor's innovative techniques of magnetism, Maria slowly recovers her sight. But this miracle comes at a price as the woman progressively starts to lose her gift for music.Written by
Mademoiselle Paradis is the true story of blind Austrian prodigy pianist Maria Theresia Paradis (1759-1824) and her treatment under controversial doctor Franz Anton Mesmer (who believed there is an invisible aether coursing through us, that the treatment of this liquid could cure diseases, and from whom we get the terms 'mesmerize' and 'animal magnetism'). He was, it would seem, able to cure her blindness long as she was in his care.
I don't know if the film is interesting from a historical point of view or if it's only the director that makes it so. What I do know is interesting is the directing, which makes good use of lighting and contrast to illuminate the story of this blind young woman and dispel the shadows around medicine and misogyny in late 18th century Europe.
The actors and their costumes blend in perfectly with the setting, so fans of period dramas will find a lot to admire here. In short, this film is like Mesmer's liquid: no one will ever see it, but that doesn't mean it's without power.
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