Review: Stations Of The Cross
Director: Dietrich Brüggemann
Let us commence the cultural year with the recent German film Kreuzweg.
It is a movie of great worth yet austere in its depiction of the everyday turned miraculous.
Brüggemann's film utilises Jesus' journey to his death (the Stations of the Cross) as stepping-stones for the character of Maria. This young German teenager is engulfed in her family's strict and rigid membership of The Society of Saint Pius, a form of Catholicism that does not recognise Rome as the church (since the Second Vatican Council). The Mother (Mutter) is constantly damming Maria, forbidding her to listen to the "devil music" of jazz, rock and pop, not approving of her joining a choir (that mainly do Bach) and disapproving of a harmless chatter with a fellow male pupil.
Maria is almost divine, yet mainly neutral in her fevered devotion. Like a modern day saint, Lea van Acken is near vacant and silently tortured by her sacrifices, anxieties and hardships. Playing the mother, Franziska Weisz pushes her assertiveness to the point of nasty conservatism. Lucie Aron is Bernadette, their French au pair who is a sympathetic (a la Veronica for Jesus) and reassuring presence around Maria.
A tower of sadness is present as we see Maria die of malnutrition. In this moment (I also noted the clock on the hospital wall was exactly 3 o' clock) her younger brother, who has never spoken, calls out for her in a miracle-like manner. It's up to the audience to decide if this was an act of God or just very good timing. We see in the final phase her gravesite being covered in soil, as the camera pans out into the heavens. It was a sublime way to end the film, even without the use of music.
The film appears to hover with the number 14 at its core. Within these 14 scenes (also the age of Maria) are immaculately presented tableaux seeped in Christian connotations. The Blu-Ray of this film shall look so pure and strikingly clear.
This all holds up as a pleasing, formal endeavour into faith and sacrifice.
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