Thursday, 18 December 2014

Stations of the Cross.

Written by siblings Dietrich and Anna Bruggemann, with Dietrich in the director’s chair, Stations of the Cross (2014) deals with extreme catholic fanaticism channelled through the eyes of a pretty 14-year-old schoolgirl Maria Gottler (an excellent Lea van Acken). She is preparing for her confirmation in to the Society of St Paul, inducted into its ways by her priest Pater Weber and her piously repressed mother (Franziska Weisz). But I’m afraid that this story is far removed from the Sunday service and Biblical teachings we learnt at Sunday school! The scene is set in the first ‘station’ when we discover the Priest brainwashing a group of youngsters, including Maria, sitting around a table that is meant to bring to mind The Last Supper. He pontificates about the dangers of satanic music, movies, social media and unbelievable, cake! Maria’s home life is fraught with repression and guilt; her personnel guilt is bound up with her younger brother who cannot speak.

Indoctrinated by both the Church and at home....

A disturbingly harrowing, but moving look at what could have been a perfectly normal childhood albeit for her exposure to the pressured religious bigotry which denies her not only the natural life of a ordinary teenager but also her emerging sexuality. This very well made and shot film is literally divided up into the 14 stations Christ passed through on the way to Calvary, each depicting a different part of his martyrdom. An austere movie with a complete lack of humour, is it a sin to laugh?  After watching this you will be convinced it probably is! It confounds the view that extreme religion can be found in many different parts of the world and is not confined to the Middle Eastern countries as our media would have us believe!

....forces Maria to punish herself unnecessarily!

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