Stations Of The Cross (Kreuzweg)
Director: Dietrich Bruggemann
Cast: Lea van Acker, Franziska Weisz, Klaus Michael Kamp, Lucie Aron, Anna Bruggeman, Linus Fluhr, Florian Steller, mavitz Knapp
Language: German, French & Latin with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Germany 2014 107 mins.
Winner Silver Bear Best Script and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury 2014 Berlin International Film Festival; Winner Student Critics Jury Award Edinburgh 2014 International Film Festival
Released by ARROW FILMS
'Uncompromising and compelling - a depiction of religious fundamentalism.'
'Stations of the Cross', non-judgemental, uncompromising and compelling, shot in only 14 fixed-angle long shots as each stage of the story is taken as one of the stations of the cross and titled as such at the bottom of each frame. The opening scene becomes the corner stone of an indictment of religion and radical faith. Father Webber (Florian Steller), a member of the Society of St. Paul, an ultra-conservative off-shoot of Catholicism centre stage in a pre-confirmation class, radical, convinced and uncompromising as he moulds his young warriors of Christ.
Lea van Acker on screen all of the time is mesmerising as 14 year-old Maria, part of modern Europe, yet apart and isolated in her desire to follow Jesus, become a saint and go to heaven. Hers is a receptive mind and to achieve her goal, Maria's convinced that she needs to go through the stations of the cross and then a miracle will cure her 4 year-old brother Johannes (Linus Fluhr) who hasn't spoken since birth. All others are wrong, they are the only true believers. There isn't forgiveness or acceptance of human frailty, there's only guilt and a desire for an unattainable piety. It's a no singing, no dancing, none of the devil's music scenario. Maria's weak father (Klaus Michael Kamp) side lined by his dominant wife (Franziska Weisz) uncompromising in her belief, yet willing to get on the sainthood band wagon has a predictable touch and Bernadette (Lucie Aron), the French au pair, the only person offering love, understanding and comfort. How the family afforded an au pair is a mystery and how Bernadette survived the claustrophobia is a hidden miracle. Not even Christian (Mavitz Knapp), a boy Maria meets at school, can stop her, even if in another world, they might have become friends, or even lovers.
Moving from the fixed-angle long shot towards the end detracts and the last shot panning up to the sky is........ Yet it remains a remarkable and memorable film with much to think about destined I feel for the art house and festival circuit.