February 23, 2015

Stations of the Cross (2014)

Stations of the Cross (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Dietrich Bruggemann
Country: Germany

Movie Review: The fourth feature film by Dietrich Bruggemann, “Stations of the Cross”, was co-written with his sister Anne, making an interesting parallelism between a modern world tale, set in a Southern German town, and the 14 stations of the cross endured by Jesus towards Calvary. Maria is a14 year-old somber girl who lives obsessed with God and religion. Coming from a very conservative family, Maria feels helpless most of the time, struggling against the fear of sin and brainwashed by her merciless unloving mother and the town’s priest, Father Weber. While preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, Maria is getting more and more obsessed with the idea of sacrificing her life for God to save her 4 year-old little brother who suffers from a mysterious disease. After start talking with Christian, a schoolmate who has a crush on her, Maria seems to vacillate in her intentions, giving signs of wanting to relate with outside people. As her mother denies her any type of affection and castrates her even more, Maria tries to extend her arms to Bernadette, a French friend of the family, who gave her the protection, trust and understanding that she couldn’t find in her real mother. However, and after getting seriously ill, not even a very concerned doctor seems capable to deviate the tormented young girl from her ordeal. We can glimpse a hint of the psychological strength of Haneke and Ulrich Seidl’s cinema, but never too intense to shock directly with its meticulous scenes and dialogues. Saint or not, the truth is that Lea van Acken’s performance was convincing, and the long shots of “Stations of the Cross” invites us to a sort of bitter commiseration.

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