Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 20th, 2015
BluRay released: January 19th, 2015
Approximate running time: 110 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: LPCM 5.1 German
BluRay Release: Arrow Films
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £15.99 (UK)
Structurally the films is broken down into fourteen section and each section is given title like a chapter in the book. The first section is titled ‘1. Jesus condemned to death’, while the fourteenth section is titled ’14. Jesus is laid in the Tomb’. With the in-between title cards all foreshadowing Maria’s plight.
The film’s opening sequence where four girls and two boys talk with a priest about preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation and the things they must remember if they want to remain a devoted to their faith. This opening scene firmly establishes the tone of the film and it gives a clear indications where things are going to go from there for this film’s protagonist.
Along the way her faith is challenged when one day while at the library she meets a boy who flirts with her and asks her if she would like to attend his churches choir. This is a pivotal moment as it could have been a turning point where she finally branches outside of the world isolated world that the church and her mother have pigeon holed into. With the scene following this scene showing just how domineering her mother is.
Visually this film lets the words which are being spoken tell the story as the camera literally does not move unit the final moments which involve a ‘god’ like view from a crane shot. With that being said, though the camera remains still for the majority of the film, the true power of its stillness lays in how each section is framed in a different way that further adds potency to what is unfolding during said section. Also pacing is never an issue as this film does a wonderful of letting each new revelation sink in and not overstay its welcome.
It should not come as surprise that this film standout performance comes from Lea van Acken in the role of Maria. For a first time actor she gives a remarkable performance that is utterly convincing. The only other performance of note is Franziska Weisz in the role of Maria’s mother. She gives a performance that perfectly showcases the dangers of religious fanaticism.
Stations of the Cross comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used of this transfer is in great shape. Colors look accurate, flesh tones look healthy, details look sharp, black and contrast levels look very good. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM 5.1 mix in German and also included with this release are English subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced. Range wise things sound very good as the more ambient sounds are well represented and whenever there is music is sounds appropriately robust.
Extras for this release are limited to a trailer for A Touch of Sin.
Overall Stations of the Cross gets a solid audio / video presentation from Arrow Films.
Note: Arrow Films are also releasing this film on DVD.