San Sebastian Film Review: ‘Mademoiselle Paradis’

San Sebastian Film Review: ‘Mademoiselle Paradis’
It’s the kind of teasing what-if with which we begin torturing ourselves as children: If you had to choose one, would you rather be deaf or blind? Would you rather have the gift of sight for a brief time only to have it taken away, or never know exactly what you’re missing? And if regaining your vision meant losing your most unique talent, would you take that trade? For blind Austrian pianist Maria Theresia “Resi” Paradis, the latter wasn’t a hypothesis or a choice, but a perverse quandary into which her body threw her — not that the draconian patriarchy of the late 18th century would have permitted her much say either way. A fresh, inquisitive portrait of her pivotal teenage years from director Barbara Albert, “Mademoiselle Paradis” is less interested in its subject’s potted biography than in how her era’s vicious politics of class and gender affected her plight. The
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