Opening 20 Mar 2014
The title Kreuzweg in Latin is via Crucis and means Stations of the Cross, or the Way of Sorrow, which refers to artistic representations of Christ carrying the cross to his crucifixion. The title alone casts a shadow on this film which opens with a group of young teenagers receiving an education from a St. Pius Xll priest belonging to a Catholic order with very strict and conservative interpretations of the Bible. And there sits Maria (Lea van Acken) attentively, knowing every answer to the many questions that the priest asks. At the end of the session, she has her own questions, which place her in a troubled world between being a teenager and dealing with the strict rules of her household. Her mother rules the house with a strict hand, and it is clear that Maria lives in fear of misconduct while trying to achieve this path of righteousness. Even the weak father and live-in nanny, who is there to help with her disabled brother, is unable to give her any relief from the guilt that is cast upon her by her mother and the church. Life becomes more and more unbearable for Maria as she fights with the school and at home trying to find this religious path of purity.
Director Dietrich Brüggemann wants to explore the idea of what happens to a family when the ideology takes precedence over daily life. He says it becomes a form of psychological abuse, and he also says that all different theologies have something in common when they become fanatical. He also explained that in most cases it is the woman who is the strong one and is pushing the religious beliefs on the others. He thought that the end of fundamentalism was going to end, but in the United States there has been a major comeback. He said that listening to the radio and hearing the preachers and priests giving their daily sermons while at the same time condoning other religions is common practice. It is a brilliant film and was extremely demanding of the actors, who had to get through 18 pages of text without a break. It was interesting to notice that the older actors had the hard time while Lea van Acken expressed very little stress while playing her role. Here is a film that will enlighten you on fundamentalism in religious beliefs. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)