LICHT

Austria, Germany 2018

Synopsis

Vienna, 1777. Maria Theresia (“Resi”) Paradis, 18 years old, is blind, and a pianist of remarkable talent. Resi lost her eyesight literally overnight when she was three. After countless failed medical experiments, her overprotective parents seek out a controversial “miracle doctor,” Franz Anton Mesmer, as their last hope for a cure. For Dr. Mesmer, the chance to successfully treat the young girl could lead to fame and fortune. Resi moves into the estate of the doctor and his wife, where in the company of other patients she tastes personal freedom for the first time. And Mesmer’s treatments seem to have almost immediate success. However, Resi soon notices that as her sight is beginning to return, her musical virtuosity is declining. She becomes aware that being part of society as a seeing person comes at too high a price if it can mean the loss of her inner world of music.

Directors Statement

When I first read about Maria Theresia Paradis, I fell in love immediately. I am fascinated not only by her character - this gifted and sensitive, big, blind, and not too attractive child who is shoved around by her parents and by society - but also by the glimpse her story provides into the bourgeois and aristocratic society of Rococo Vienna. MADEMOISELLE PARADIS tells the tale of a social system based on prohibitions and repression, and of women who try to come to terms with it and find their own space and freedom within its restrictive structures.

Thus, I understand MADEMOISELLE PARADIS not as an escape into the aesthetics of the past, but as a variation on a perpetual and deeply human issue: the constant tension between subordination and adaptation on the one hand, and the determination, on the other hand, to rise above the ordinary.

Beyond that, I want to take the audience on an emotional and sensual journey that challenges the concept of genius in the context of an historical narrative, and that draws our attention to our own often subconscious sensations and their significance in our own lives.

MADEMOISELLE PARADIS is about what and how we see, and about when and whether we should trust what we see.

Director's Biography

Born in Vienna in 1970, Barbara Albert studied Directing and Screenwriting at the Vienna Film Academy. After having introduced her short films at several festivals, her first feature film NORDRAND was internationally acclaimed after its screening in the competition of Venice Int. Film Festival in 1999.

In the same year Barbara Albert founded the production company coop99, together with Martin Gschlacht, Jessica Hausner and Antonin Svoboda. She worked as producer on GRBAVICA, DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE, SLEEPER and LOVELY RITA. As a writer she has worked together with the writer/ directors Jasmila Zbanic, Andrea Staka, Ruth Mader and Michael Glawogger.

After FREE RADICALS, FALLING and THE DEAD AND THE LIVING, which premiered in the competitions of San Sebastian, Venice and Locarno, MADEMOISELLE PARADIS is Barbara Albert’s 5th feature film. Her films have received numerous awards. She is a teacher and vice president of the Film University Babelsberg “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam and has been living in Berlin since 2010.

In 2016 she co-founded Berlin-based production company CALA Film, together with the producers of MADEMOISELLE PARADIS, Martina Haubrich and Michael Kitzberger.

Filmography:
2017 – MADEMOISELLE PARADIS
2012 – THE DEAD AND THE LIVING
2006 - FALLING
2004 – MARS, short
2003 – FREE RADICALS
2002 – STATE OF A NATION
1999 - NORDRAND
1997 - SLIDIN' – ALLES BUNT UND WUNDERBAR ("Tagada"), short
1997 – SOMEWHERE ELSE, doc
1996 - SONNENFLECKEN, short
1994 – DIE FRUCHT DEINES LEIBES, short
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Barbara Albert

Written by : Kathrin Resetarits

Produced by : Michael Kitzberger, Martina Haubrich, Wolfgang Widerhofer, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Markus Glaser

Director of Photography : Christine A. Maier

Editor : Niki Mossböck

Production Design : Katharina Wöppermann

Costume Design : Veronika Albert

Hair & Make up Artist : Helene Lang

Composer : Lorenz Dangel

Sound Design : Christian Conrad

Main Cast : Maria Dragus (Maria Theresia Paradis), Devid Striesow (Franz Anton Mesmer), Lukas Miko (Joseph Anton Paradis), Katja Kolm (Maria Rosalia Paradis), Maresi Riegner (Agnes), Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg (Maria von Posch), Stefanie Reinsperger (Johanna, the cook)

Special Effects Supervisor: Matthias Halibrand

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Feature Film Selection 2018