Synopsis: The life story of the multi-talented German nun Hildegard von Bingen. The film portrays an original woman - best known as a composer and religious visionary - whose grand claims often run counter to the patriarchal world around her. The monks and nuns at the convent become a kind of family, offering both confidants and enemies. For example Jutta, struggling with her jealousy of Hildegard's success, and the young Richardis who worships Hildegard both as an intellectual role model and a mother figure.
Production: Zeitgeist Films
  1 win & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

The last night of the first millennium

Brothers, this is the night of all nights.

The last night

that we will spend on earth.

After this night

there shall be no new day,

for time has fulfilled itself.

And the earth will perish,

and we with it.

Reflect on your sins, repent,

throw yourselves to the ground,

and await the end in humility

and silence.

That's the sun!

From the life of Hildegard von Bingen

As the new era's first century closed,

a girl, Hildegard,

came into the world.

She would understand the language,

of plants, stones, and animals,

and with her heart

recognize the signs

that are only revealed to a few.

Cloister Disibodenberg

Christ protect you.

You are now his little bride.

Please stay a bit longer!

These are the crests of the families

who generously gave us donations.

You know this one:

The crest of Count von Sponheim's line.

Our most important benefactors.

They've given us much land.

God granted that the count's daughter

has joined our cloister:

Jutta von Sponheim.

She will raise you from now on,

in the robes of humility and innocence.

Here a rich man is punished

for refusing to give and to share.

From now on, I'll be your mother.

You can trust me.

Why don't they look at me?

It's the rule.

- Which rule?

The Benedictines' rule.

You'll soon find out.

Can't I look at you either?

You can look at me,

but not at the men.

This is Jutta.

LittleJutta, my namesake.

Kiss one another.

This is where we'll live together,

until you've taken the vow.

When will that be?

- In eight years.

I always had to take that at home.

Were you often ill?

- Yes, very.

I once had to stay in bed for a year.

Is that why your parents sent you here?

No, I've been given to God as a gift.

God is pleased with his gift,

and so am I.

No, she gave it to me!

No, give it to me!

- Give me the board.

And the pencil.

Now repeat this:

Envy is ugly and misshapen.

"Envy is ugly and misshapen. "

Its bear's paws tear up everything.

Its wooden feet walk dead paths.

"Its bear's paws tear up everything.

Its wooden feet walk dead paths. "

It brings only evil to man.

"It brings only evil to man. "

Love, however,

is the greatest power given by God.

"Love, however,

is the greatest power given by God. "

Your weeping hinders me

from going to meet my maker.

Please leave now.

Come and sit with me.

Give me your hand.

I tried to be a good mother to you.

If I failed at times,

forgive me...

and give me a farewell kiss.

SinceJutta von Sponheim

was summoned to God,

there is no one in charge

of the sisters' well-being.

We must bring this situation to an end

and appoint a new magistra.

I thought of you, Hildegard.

Oh, no... Please, venerable Father!

It was the deceased magistra's wish too.

You were her confidante.

She passed on all her knowledge,

human and spiritual, on to you.

I am unworthy.

I shall decide if you are worthy.

No, venerable Father,

my sisters shall decide.

As a rule it is the sisters who vote

for their leader.

- That applies to convents.

This is a communal cloister,

and I have the final word.

I can only accept the post

if my sisters vote for me.

I ask you to consider that I am

often very ill.

I am a weak woman.

You've often seen that I could

not fulfill the rules due to sickness

or being too weak.

Our great saints

were often afflicted with illness.

Your spirit will guide you,

not your body.

You realize that you are bound to

absolute obedience to the abbot?

It is our divine right

to decide our own fate.

Sister Barbara!

Sister Adelgard!

Sister Ursula!

Sister Elisabeth!


Sister Hildegard is our new magistra!


I hope you'll help me

guide our younger sisters.

In memory of our mother.

You were always her favorite.

Her eyes only lit up when you sang.

She only talked to you

about the healing power of music.

Envy is ugly and misshapen.

It brings only evil to man.

Do you remember?


Only love is a great power.

But she only ever showed you love!

Venerable Mother!

Bishop Siward of Uppsala is here

and he brought his travel library!

I asked him to allow me

to borrow some books for you.

You can choose:

Books on medicine,

precious stones, or antique classics.

The Bishop treasures the Dioscorides,


the Physiologus.

A mixture of fables and observations

in the realm of nature.

It originates from Alexandria,

second century AD.

It contains excerpts

from the works of Aristotle,

Plutarch, and Pliny.

Is that a unicorn?

- Yes.

No hunter can kill it or catch it,

but it will jump into the lap

of a virgin maid. So it says.

You flagellated yourself?

I wanted to suffer

as he suffered for us.

He who kills the flesh,

kills the soul that inhabits it.

God wants you to give mercy,

not sacrifices.

Which herbs will help heal the wounds?


- No, it's for coughs.


- Tetterwort is for warts.


- No, it's for diarrhea and snakebite.

Prayer and fasting alone

will not cure our sick patients.


If someone is wounded by beating,

first wash the wound with wine,

then lay a cloth on the wound

and lay yarrow upon the cloth.

It must be boiled and then strained.

It draws out the pus from the wound.

Music can also heal your wounds...

and your soul.

Sister Sieglinde!

Man was created from earth,

and the earth will help you.

Repeat that 3 times a day for 3 days.

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Margarethe von Trotta

Margarethe von Trotta (born 21 February 1942) is a German film director who has been referred to as a "leading force" of the New German Cinema movement. Von Trotta's extensive body of work has won awards internationally. She was married to and collaborated with director Volker Schlöndorff. Although they made a successful team, von Trotta felt she was seen as secondary to Schlöndorff. Subsequently, she established a solo career for herself and became "Germany’s foremost female film director, who has offered the most sustained and successful female variant of Autorenkino in postwar German film history." Certain aspects of von Trotta’s work have been compared to Ingmar Bergman’s features from the 1960s and 1970s. She says that it was thanks to Bergman's films that she "‘fell in love’ with the medium and its possibilities for representing inner psychic worlds."Von Trotta has been called "the world’s leading feminist filmmaker." The predominant aim of her films is to create new representations of women. Her films are concerned with relationships between and among women (sisters, best friends, etc.), as well as with relationships between women and men, and involve political setting. Nevertheless, she rejects the suggestion that she makes "women’s films". more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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