Home Entertainment Movie Reviews The Book Of Vision – Bridging the Past and Present

The Book Of Vision – Bridging the Past and Present

Lotte Verbeek as Elizabeth. Photo © Luminous Arts Productions
Lotte Verbeek as Elizabeth. Photo © Luminous Arts Productions

The Book of Vision, a Carlo S. Hintermann picture, is a medical bridge between the past and the present day, discovered through the eyes of Eva, a young woman struggling to understand the problems within her own body.

Lotte Verbeek plays Eva, a pregnant Dutch doctor with a heart condition that may kill her, or her baby, or both.

Discovery of The Book of Vision

Eva is not only a student of medicine, but also a student of the history of medicine. She discovers a manuscript by an 18th century physician, Johan Anmuth. Anmuth wrote The Book of Vision, based on what he learned from 1800 of his patients. As well as covering their medical issues, he delves into their feelings, fears and dreams.

While reading Anmuth’s stories and visions from the past, Eva sees the limitations of modern medicine that focus on the treatment of visible symptoms while ignoring what the patients feel. Here, Eva sees parallels with the treatment of her own body.

In the present, Eva as a patient and her physician, Doctor Morgan mirror the past, as the two actors also play their doubles, Elizabeth von Ouerbach and her doctor Johan Anmuth as if transposed onto the present from the past.

The symbolism in The Book of Vision is stunning, and beautifully captured and displayed.

Elizabeth and Eva. Photo © Luminous Arts Productions

Vision Of A Woman

Eva’s medical situation is critical, so she decides to take control of her own life. This step leads her on a journey into her soul, an adventure into a fantastical terrain.

The vehicle for Eva’s journey is Doctor Anmuth’s 18th Century book. As she turns the pages of the old book, she is able to see herself in a new light. As she begins to understand more, she lets go of the thoughts and directions of the people holding her back – her doctors, parents, and lovers. When Eva finally sees her body, she comes to the understanding that it is truly her body.

Lotte Verbeek as Elizabeth.

The Body

“Today there is nothing exceptional about looking inside our bodies. Needles, scalpels, and sonograms trespass the barrier of our skin. But was it always this way? Eva discovers the work of Doctor Johan Anmuth, who at the beginning of the 1700’s told the stories of his patients’ bodies through their histories, fantasies and dreams. Soon after he wrote, the practice of surgery, despite its terrible risks, became prevalent and people began to understand their bodies as mechanisms. As she reclaims her body, Eva takes a leap backward to that earlier time when surgery was feared as the practice of sorcerers. Through Anmuth’s Book of Vision, she comes to appreciate the relevance of patients’ stories to the healing process.”

Doctor and Patient

Many times in modern medicine, a conflict can arise between doctor and patient. At that point, if it hasn’t failed already, the medical therapy is bound to fail. Healing involves relationship, and as a doctor herself, Eva knew this, even before she became a patient. When patients can tell the story of their illnesses and their doctors can understand it, scientific progress can give space to a healing process that takes place within the human soul.

The Book of Vision Traverses Time

The Book Of Vision filmmaker, Carlo S. Hintermann, takes us on a journey, switching between the past and present. His own thoughts of time travel clearly influenced the leaps into different dimensions of time and space. He says “In The Book of Vision, I wanted to explore the space between the sensations of awe I had while watching 1980s fantasy movies and the delicious unease I felt when viewing the uncanny elements of Kubrick and Cronenberg’s films: I sought a new and original synthesis.”

“The Book of Vision wants to pay tribute to the inexorable force of life and the need for constant rebirth. Each interrupted experience, each fall, and each unresolved love story inhabits a specific space and time, yet is in continuous evolution. Cinema is the highest expression of this potential, an alternative world with its own nature. Each spectator’s experience of the film is elusive and cannot be controlled. Recognizing this while making a film is like leaning over a cliff, terrifying yet dizzyingly exciting.”

Screen International called The Book Of Vision “A bold and uncompromising feature debut … beautifully shot … stunning to look at.”

The Book of Vision

Director

Carlo S. Hintermann

Director Carlo S. Hintermann.

Carlo S. Hintermann is an Italian and Swiss filmmaker and producer. He has a diploma in classical percussion and studied the history of cinema in Italy, then film directing in the US. He helmed several shorts and then with Luciano Barcaroli, Gerardo Panichi and Daniele Villa, co-directed the documentary Rosy-fingered Dawn: a film on Terrence Malick (Venice Film Festival, 2002). That was followed by his solo direction of Chatzer: Inside Jewish Venice (Turin Film Festival, 2004) and the animated short H2O (Annecy Animated Film Festival, 2007).

In 2011, Hintermann produced and acted as the 2nd unit director for the Italian shoot of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, 2011) and also directed the documentary The Dark Side of the Sun (Rome International Film Festival, Extra – Jury Special Mention prize Enel Cuore, 2011) exploring the relationship between animation and live action. In 2013 he also worked with the Rare Disease Day, directing two spots: one in 2012 with Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics, and another in 2015 with the animation studio Moonchausen.

His work as a producer includes Tsili by Amos Gitai (Venice Film Festival, 2014), Rabin: The Last Day by Amos Gitai (Venice Film Festival, 2015), Mountain by Amir Naderi (Venice Film Festival – Glory to the Filmaker Award, 2016), Dal Ritorno by Giovanni Cioni and Rhinoceros by Kevin Jerome Everson. Hintermann is also a musician, composer and film critic.

Executive Producer

Terrence Malick

Executive Producer Terrence Malick

Terrence Malick is a renowned American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His directorial debut was the drama Badlands in 1973, and his second film, Days of Heaven, came in 1978. His third film, the World War II drama The Thin Red Line, was released in 1998. Malick is regarded as one of the greatest living filmmakers.

Malick was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Thin Red Line, as well as winning the Golden Bear at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival, the Palme d’Or at the 64th Cannes Film Festival for The Tree of Life, and the SIGNIS Award at the 69th Venice International Film Festival for To the Wonder. From 2014 he directed the movies Knight of Cups, Voyage of Time, Song To Song and A Hidden Life (Cannes Film Festival 2019).

Producers

Gerardo Panichi, Robin Monotti Graziadei, Vera Graziadei, Sébastien Delloye.

Principal Cast (selected filmography)

Charles Dance

The Crown (2019), The Woman in White (2018), That Good Night (2017), Me Before you (2016), Game of Thrones (2011-2015), The Imitation Game (2014) – Charles Dance IMDB

Lotte Verbeek

The Coldest Game (2019), The Black List (2016-2019), Counterpart (2018), Outlander (2014-2017), The Fault in Our Stars (2014), The Borgias (2011-2013) – Lotte Verbeek IMDB

Sverrire Gudnason

Falling (2020), Charter (2020), Älska Mig (2019), The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018), Føniks (2018), Borg McEnroe (2017) – Sverrire Gudnason IMDB

Isolda Dychauk

Two Girls (2018), Berlin Station (2018), Boris Without Béatrice (2016), SOKO Köln (2015), Borgia (2011-2014), Faust (2011) – Isolda Dychauk IMDB

Filippo Nigro

Suburra (2017-2019), Medici (2018), Girl in Flight (2017), Romanzo Siciliano (2016), Deep in the Wood (2015), All Cops Are Bastards (2012) – Filippo Nigro IMDB

Crew

Director of Photography – Joerg Widmer

Joerg Widmer is an award-winning director of photography, having collaborated, among others, with Wim Wenders, Terrence Malick, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Haneke, Roman Polanski and Bela Tarr.

Production Designer – David Crank

David Crank has collaborated with Paul Thomas Anderson in There Will Be Blood, The Master, and Inherent Vice; with Steven Spielberg in Lincoln; and Terrence Malick in The New World, The Tree of Life, and To the Wonder.

Costume Designer – Mariano Tufano

Mariano Tufano worked in an array of major Italian and international feature films including: Il Piccolo Mondo Antico, The Importance of Being Earnest; The Passion of the Christ; Tristan & Isolde; and The Golden Door (Silver Lion at Venice Film Festival 2006).

Music – Hanan Townshend in collaboration with Federico Pescucci Hanan

Hanan Townshend worked with Terrence Malick on the music of The Tree of Life, To the Wonder, Knight of Cups and Voyage of Time. He is considered one of the most sought after composers in USA. Federico Pascucci is one of the most talented young Italian composers and Jazz musicians. He founded together with Carlo S. Hintermann the band Errichetta Underground.

Conceptual Visual Design – Lorenzo Ceccotti

Lorenzo Ceccotti (LRNZ) is an award-winning graphic artist and author of Golem, a best seller graphic novel. He collaborated with Carlo Hintermann in the animation part of The Dark Side of the Sun.

Production Companies

Citrullo International

Citrullo International is a Rome-based production company, active since 2001. Citrullo develop and produce films, documentaries, and TV series for the international market. They foster talented authors who can express their own personal vision of the world and stories with a strong creative component.

Citrullo International productions have been presented in the most prestigious Italian Film Festivals (Venice, Turin, Rome etc.), in a number of international Festivals (Jerusalem, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Annecy, BFI, The Contenders MoMA) and have been aired on Italian (RAI, Sky, FOX) and international channels (SVT, YLE, DR, TV3, SKY, IFC). Since 2009, the company works as executive producer of foreign films shot in Italy. Among the titles, The Tree of Life, by Terrence Malick, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2014 Citrullo International co-produced two movies by the acclaimed director Amos Gitai, Tsili presented out of competition at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, and Rabin: the Last Day presented in competition at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. In 2015 it produced Monte by the Iranian master Amir Naderi premiered at Venice Film Festival

Entre Chien Et Loup

Entre Chien et Loup focuses on high-quality content for feature and documentary films, and they are a force in the European audiovisual market.

The basic intention of Entre Chien et Loup is to make films that combine a committed style of direction, of authorship and topic, a strong sense of cinematography, and the appropriate production. Over the course of time, this obstinacy has paid off. The company recently coproduced the Paul Verhoeven movie, Elle.

Luminous Arts Productions Ltd

Luminous Arts Productions is a London-based film and theatre production company that produced Amir Naderi’s Monte (2016) as associates to Citrullo International and Aleksander Markov’s Nameless Nobody (2013). They are currently producing European films and theatre plays for the London stage.

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