The true story of a blind 18th century Viennese pianist and composer Maria Theresia von Paradis (Maria Dragus, Graduation) and the remarkable physician who worked to restore her sight despite medical conventions, made with exquisite period detail.
The year is 1777, and Vienna is in the midst of Mozart's takeover as high society obsesses over new melodies and compositions. A small concert hall is enthralled by a young and blind harpsichordist with unabashed skill. That musician is the famed Maria Theresia von Paradis, whose story comes to life in this exquisitely detailed period piece from Austrian filmmaker Barbara Albert. Maria's parents take her to doctor Frank Mesmer, the man who coined the term "animal magnetism," in the hopes of curing her blindness. At first scared of her new environment, Maria finds safety and an empowering sense of self-worth insulated from society's mockery about her disability. But as Maria's health improvements appear dubious after a miraculous beginning and her skill falters, her newfound comfort is threatened as Mesmer is ostracized as a fraud. The film's 18th century set design and costumes, as well as the classically driven score, leave no detail untouched. Maria Dragus (Graduation ) is mesmerizing as Maria Theresia, who undergoes raw sensory overload when she regains partial sight only to lose it again in a melodious journey of self-discovery. Albert's work is a dramatically imposing film from beginning to end, one that refuses to show Habsburg Austria through a rose-colored lens.
Barabara Albert's first feature film Nordrand (1999) skyrocketed her into international acclaim. Born in Vienna in 1970, she has been active in filmmaking since 1991 and has slowly seen improvements in the way of supporting the work of females in the industry. She is noted on not believing in the concept of advice, especially for female directors, as she thinks every woman must pave their own way.
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- Original Language Title: Licht
- Director: Barbara Albert
- Principal Cast: Maria Dragus, Devid Striesow, Lukas Miko, Katja Kolm, Maresi Riegner
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: Austria, Germany
- Year: 2017
- Running Time: 97 minutes
- Producer: Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Martina Haubrich, Michael Kitzberger, Wolfgang Widerhofer
- Screenplay: Kathrin Resetarits, Alissa Walser
- Cinematographers: Christine A. Maier
- Editors: Niki Mossbock
- Music: Lorenz Dangel
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: The Dead and the Living (2012); Falling (2006); Free Radicals (2003); State of the Nation: Austria in Six Chapters (2002); Nordrand (1999); Slidin' - Alles bunt und wunderbar (1998); Und raus bist du (1992); Der andern eine Grube grabt (1991)
- Language: German, French
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- Format: DCP
- US Distributor: First Run Features
- International Sales: Films Distribution