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Stations of the Cross (2014)

© Dietrich Brüggemann
© Dietrich Brüggemann
Directed by Dietrich Brüggemann

Stations of the Cross is made up for fourteen scenes, each one corresponding to, as the title might suggest, one of the Stations of the Cross. Our Jesus figure is fourteen-year-old Maria (Lea Van Acken), who belongs to a fundamentalist sect of Catholicism. She is taught, among other things, that pop music is evil, and that she must make constantly make sacrifices to God. And she gets it into her head that she must the biggest sacrifice of all for the sake of her little brother, who at four years old is still unable to speak.

It is easy to see the movie as just a screed against fundamentalist religion, but the film is a little more sophisticated than that. It has just genuine compassion for its characters, and never misses a chance to portray Maria’s faith as something strangely beautiful, in spite of everything. It also makes the voices that seem unwilling to understand Maria equally as ugly. The film is beautifully shot, its fourteen, mostly static, one-take scenes all perfectly composed, finding some measure of the transcendent in the stillness of the frame.

by Philbert Dy