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Stations of the Cross

The life and death of 14-year old Maria, who grows up in a radical catholic family, are illustrated in single takes that carry the titles of the fourteen Stations of the Cross. A critique of fundamentalist Christian ideology.


STATIONS OF THE CROSS is the new Dietrich and Anna Brüggemann film. It depicts the life and death of Maria, a young 14-year old girl who grows up in a fundamentalist Catholic community with ties to the Society of Pius X. The story is told in 14 fixed-angle long shots that correspond to the Stations of the Cross: from “Jesus is condemned to death” to “Jesus is laid in the tomb.” From the outset Maria’s fate is never in question. In the first scene she decides to sacrifice herself for her developmentally challenged brother. The scene reminds the viewer of a lifeless version of Leonardo’s “The Last Supper”: The priest reminds the candidates for confirmation that from now on they should see themselves as God’s soldiers and this entails making sacrifices. No pop music for example since it derives from satanic influences. When Maria asks whether one can sacrifice oneself, the priest tells her it would be better to forgo the cookie she is holding in her hand. Maria then becomes anorexic.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS conjures up an atmosphere of unbearable pressure placed on the young protagonists. The static images are as blocked as the fundamentalist ideology itself. The Brüggemann’s only allow two camera movements: in one shot the camera follows Maria as she makes her way to communion where she then collapses and loses consciousness. The second at first seems like a copy of the final scene of Lars von Trier’s BREAKING THE WAVES: The camera moves from Maria’s grave to the grey sky, but in this film there is no sound of ringing bells in the sky. At the Berlin Film Festival Dietrich and Anna Brüggemann were awarded the silver bear for best screenplay. STATIONS OF THE CROSS will most certainly have a long afterlife on theatre stages.


Translation: Carla McDougall


Original title: Kreuzweg
D 2014, 110 min
Genre: Drama
Director: Dietrich Brüggemann
Author: Anna Brüggemann, Dietrich Brüggemann
Cast: Lea van Acken, Franziska Weisz, Florian Stetter
FSK: 12
Release: 20.03.2014




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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