Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg) by German director Dietrich Brüggemann, is a coming-of-age story depicting the transition into adulthood of 14-year-old Maria as she prepares to receive the sacrament of confirmation. Under the conservative tutelage of a Catholic sect and a punctiliously devout mother, Maria is impelled to disavow all contemporary influences in her daily life and conform to the strict doctrines of her religious faith.
Starring Lea van Acken as Maria and Franziska Weisz as Mutter, Stations of the Cross is filmed in 14 long takes; each sequence chronicling the stages of Maria’s journey to the confirmation altar, mirroring Jesus’ pilgrimage to his crucifixion.
The film is an unapologetic polemic on the displacement of an untenable faith in a society that is becoming increasingly multicultural and secular. The film’s composition, shot with a static camera and devoid of a musical score, allows compelling acting performances to drive the narrative, in which the insufferable burden of implementing her faith annihilates Maria. She is thrown into personal turmoil by both her mother and the church’s attempts to eradicate all aspects of her emotional and spiritual development.
The fragmentation of Maria’s spirit is juxtaposed against a chillingly phlegmatic clergy, a demonically devout Mutter and a pusillanimous Vater, whose subservience to the church renders him powerless to emancipate his daughter from religious and maternal subjugation. It is Brüggemann’s intention to draw clear lines of distinction between secular humanism and moral religious ideology, and places no sympathy at the church’s door.
Poignant and evocative, controversial and compelling, Stations of the Cross encapsulates an isolated struggle in an increasingly dislocated world far removed from religious harmony. The film pits religion against secularism, ideology against indifference and power against vulnerability, and will certainly raise provocative questions about the intellectual, spiritual and emotional practices of contemporary religious orders.
Stations of the Cross is released nationwide on 28th November 2014.
Watch the trailer for Stations of the Cross here: