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Imitation of Christ

20 June 2014

William Dundas sees a new film from Germany

STATIONS OF THE CROSS, a compelling new film from Germany, can be seen on Monday 23 June at 6 p.m. in the Odeon Cinema, Edinburgh, as part of the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

This is a great film. There is the utmost clarity in the script and the cinematography: each complements the other perfectly. The action places the viewer almost in the position of a juror in a courtroom. This is achieved by filming each of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross in a single take with fixed-angle long shots.

Maria is 14 years old. Her family is part of a fundamentalist Roman Catholic community. Maria lives her everyday life in the modern world, and yet her heart belongs to Jesus. She wants to follow him, become a saint, and go to heaven - just like all those holy children she has always been told about. So Maria goes through 14 Stations, just as she is taught Jesus did on his way to the tomb, and reaches her goal in the end. Not even Christian, a boy she meets at school, can stop her, even if, in another world, they might have become friends, or even lovers. Left behind is a broken family that finds comfort in faith, and the question: were all these events really so inevitable?

The subject-matter is thought-provoking: fundamentalism is a strong, bold, and troubling feature of our world today. This film gives viewers an opportunity to pause, to evaluate their own stance, and to question their own effectiveness, in their lives, in their jobs, and in their world.

A full review will be published in the Church Times before general release, currently planned for November.

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