Serious movies can provide as much escapism as your typical action flick. I felt that on Friday, February 4, 2011 at the Detroit Film Theatre as I watched the German film Vision.
This interpretation of the life of the 12th century religious figure Hildegard von Bingen seemed like the perfect movie for a cold, winter-driven night when many people were happy just to escape the snowy weather that had descended on the Detroit area in the past week.
I sat towards the back of the main floor of the DFT auditorium, and the ceiling that also supported the balcony helped to frame this serious study of the committed, solitary religious life with a special intimacy and gravity.
I had wondered how deliberately paced (well, slow) this movie might be. But the deep tones of the painter-like photography, the peaceful echoes of the soundtrack, and the compelling dedication of the lead actress Barbara Sukowa helped engage me through the final credits.
As I watched Vision, I thought of the DFT’s showing of another powerful, sober study of ancient religious life last spring, Day of Wrath, which I write about elsewhere in this blog. It was another example of a second film “being in the room” as I watched a movie, with a synergistic effect that helped me understand both films better.
Vision is one of many meditative films on the DFT’s Winter 2011 program, which runs through May 1. These movies include Poetry on March 18-27, Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times) on April 15-24, Wings of Desire on April 16, and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives on April 29-May 1.
Copyright © 2011 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.