In this true story a deeply religious and troubled young woman believes her epilepsy is a sign of saintly suffering and the Church sanctions exorcism. Electrifying main performance won Best Actress at Berlin.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Sandra Hüller richly deserved her Best Actress Award at Berlin for her raw, electrifying performance as Michaela, a deeply religious and psychologically troubled young woman who comes to believe that her epilepsy, and the taunting voices she hears during fits, are signs that she has been chosen to suffer like St Katharina of Biasca. This gripping, complex film about a journey into breakdown and spiritual craving is based, like the recent The Exorcism of Emily Rose, on the 70s Klingenberg case, in which a young German girl died at the end of an exhausting series of exorcisms, officially sanctioned by a Catholic bishop. Director Schmid (Distant Lights) and scriptwriter Lange provide no easy answers and make no judgements, but mesmerise us with the young woman’s compulsion to martyrdom – and make perfect sense of the ways in which family, friends and church, whether they wish to or not, can only nurture her passion. — Sandra Reid
“A subtle and totally engrossing drama, packed with rich details and anchored by an awesome lead performance by Sandra Hüller.” — David Schmader, The Stranger