The true story of the relationship between a blind 18th-century Viennese pianist and the controversial physician who worked to restore her sight: Dr. Franz Mesmer.



Mademoiselle Paradis

Barbara Albert

The press conference for this film takes place on Monday, September 11 at 1pm.

This elegantly directed and sumptuously photographed period piece from directorBarbara Albert shows a seldom-explored dark side of Habsburg Austria. Set in 1770s Vienna, an era when Mozart and Haydn were in their prime, Mademoiselle Paradis follows an aspiring young harpsichordist whose magical playing has already gained notice among high society. A fly in the ointment: the prodigy is a woman, and blind. Maria Theresia von Paradis plays by ear and instinct, with heightened senses, yet her attentive mother and father want nothing more than to restore her sight, by whatever means possible. Theresia and her parents are soon at the doorstep of a physician who is just beginning to establish a reputation in Viennese society: Dr. Franz Mesmer.

Mademoiselle Paradis revolves around this doctor-patient relationship, allowing Albert to delve into a series of themes: gender dynamics; science versus art; age and youth. Mesmer was perceived by the non-acolytes as a bit of a quack, but under his gentle care, Theresia makes seemingly miraculous progress. Angry at her blindness — longing to see and be seen, as she puts it — she gets her wish as her eyesight gradually returns. But, with recovery come unexpected new challenges. Society grows suspicious, her playing style is affected, and Theresia's once-supportive family begin to doubt Mesmer.

This is a film of sensory discovery, in which the very notions of perception and healing are challenged. As Mlle. Paradis' literal vision is repaired, her life and art change. So too does her experience of the world around her — and its impact on her.


Fri Sep 08

Winter Garden Theatre

Sat Sep 09

Scotiabank 10

Sun Sep 10

Bell Lightbox 3

Wed Sep 13

Scotiabank 10

Fri Sep 15

Scotiabank 5

Sat Sep 16

Bell Lightbox 2