Stations of the Cross

A prize winner for best screenplay at the Berlin film festival, this religion-bashing drama tells the story of a 14-year-old girl, enrolled in a traditionalist Catholic study class, who resolves to sacrifice her life to God so that he might grant the power of speech to her possibly autistic infant brother. The priest teaching the class sets her on an ascetic path that gradually leads to anorexia, though the real force behind the girl’s quest is her harsh, unforgiving mother, whose furious moralistic judgments could strip the paint off a battleship. Screenwriters Anna and Dietrich Brüggeman divide their story into 14 uninterrupted takes, each named for a station of the cross, and if you can overlook the hilarity of such rigid formalism serving to indict Christian dogma, their scheme is highly effective. Dietrich directed. In German with subtitles.