Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross was, as I mentioned in the reviews, one of my Highlights of the Berlinale 2014. „ I feel like I’ve just been run over by a train“ said a journalist in the press conference after the film. And I felt pretty much the same. The religious fanaticism of the protagonist, which director Dietrich Brüggemann leaves much room in the typical formality, develops an enormous power that captured me for quite a while.

14 year old Maria (Lea van Acken) is brought up strictly catholic. Her family is part of the Paulus brotherhood (based on the real Pius Brotherhood), who demonize modern music as a work of Satan, request a pure soul and view life as a testing ground on the way to either heaven or hell. Maria is the oldest of four siblings to a mother that among all her preaching forgets to give her a hug and let her be a child once in a while and a father that is physically present, but so weak that he’s emotionally completely unavailable to Maria. When the young priest speaks about sacrifices and Saints with Marias group of confirmands, she decides to sacrifice her life fort hat of her brother, who at the age of three hasn’t begun to speak.

The deeply religious adults don’t relize how this idea embeds itself in Marias thoughts and how the fear of sinning at each „impure“ thought (such as caring about ones appearance before school) eats up her young soul. So the emotional abuse through religion becomes the topic of the film.

Brüggemann divides the film into the 14 Stations of the cross for Jesus Christ. Each white on black title of a new station (such as Jesus meets his mother, Jesus is nailed to the cross etc.) is followed by a shot with a static camera. Thus the audience remains formally as restricted as Maria is contentual. There is no escaping from the going-ons, no matter how tough it gets.

The Film won the Silver Bear for the best Script at the Berlinale. A film that requires perseverance and depicts an important and serious topic in a filmic clever way that is definitely worth watching.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find an English trailer. So here’s the German one:

Diesen Artikel auf deutsch lesen.

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