In Vienna of 1777, a gifted young pianist is sent to Doctor Mesmer in the hope that his unorthodox methods will cure her blindness. Mesmer's treatment is based on transferring a spiritual fluid that restores physical and mental harmony. To the disquiet of her parents, he insists that Maria stay in his house during treatment. Maria's sight is restored, but gossips read more into the relationship than that of doctor and patient. The treatment ends in scandal with most of Vienna convinced that Mesmer is a charlatan.
Unable to see once again, Maria returns to her parents and resumes her career as the blind pianist. Mesmer leaves for Paris, still deeply committed to the idea of his miraculous healing powers.
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