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Requiem

Director: Hans-Christian Schmid

Germany| 2006. Subtitled. Colour. Dolby Digital Stereo. 93 min.


The death of a young Catholic woman whilst undergoing an exorcism is the inspiration behind this intelligent character study from director Hans-Christian Schmid (Distant Lights). Growing up in a deeply religious family in a provincial town in the mid-1970s, Michaela lives with a condition diagnosed and treated as epilepsy. Against the wishes of her repressive mother but with the support of her loving father, she leaves home for university. Once there she throws herself into student life, but it seems that freedom and sexual awakening come at a price. Suffering a breakdown, Michaela interprets the voices and visions she’s experiencing as a sign that she’s possessed by demons. Michaela’s descent into mental anguish is brought vividly and convincingly to life by newcomer Sandra Huller and the film neither judges nor valorises. Rather, it presents a considered view of how circumstances could conspire to lead Michaela and her family to extreme actions, and in so doing rescues the subject matter from easy generic cliches.

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