Strong lead performance brings life to another exorcism


on October 18, 2006 by Ed Scheid
Based on the true story that also inspired The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Requiem focuses with sensitivity on how a confused young woman is led to search for a religious solution for her physical seizures. Michaela (Sandra Huller) lives in a small German town in the 1970s in an extremely religious Catholic family. Pills have kept her epilepsy under control. Her sympathetic father (Burghart Klaussner) has aided her plans to go to college, but her mother (Imogen Kogge) objects to Michaela's leaving the controlled family environment. At the university Michaela relishes new freedoms and opportunities. She becomes friends with Hanna (Anna Blomeier) and becomes romantically involved with Stefan (Nicholas Reinke).

In the new environment Michaela's attacks return with a religious undercurrent. She drops a rosary given by her domineering mother and is unable to hold it. Drained of energy, she begins to hear voices and cannot pray. Michaela tries in vain to resume her university life while conflicts with her mother remain over her new independence. Coming from a family that distrusts doctors, she confides in the town priest who tells her to get medical help. A younger priest (Jens Harzer) believes she is possessed and recommends an exorcism.

Under the direction of Hans-Christian Schmid, Michaela's struggles are extremely compelling. He builds intensity in both the mysterious attacks and the emotional confrontations of Michaela with family, friends and clergy, and the film treats spiritual beliefs seriously. But, while others may have sincere faith in the best solution for Michaela, they also increase the danger to her.

For her exceptional performance Huller was chosen Best Actress at both the Berlin Film Festival and the German Film Awards. She combines the raw physicality of Michaela's seizures with an emotional confusion as she ponders the cause of her attacks and how to react to them. Meanwhile, a strong supporting cast portrays the people in Michaela's life who give her contradictory advice. Distributor: IFC First Take
Cast: Sandra Hueller, Burghart Klaussner, Imogen Kogge, Anna Blomeier and Nicholas Reinke
Director/Producer: Hans-Christian Schmid
Screenwriter: Bernd Lange
Genre: Drama; German-language, subtitled
Rating: Not rated
Running time: 92 min.
Release date: November 10, 2006 ltd.

Tags: IFC First Take Cast: Sandra Hueller, Burghart Klaussner, Imogen Kogge, Anna Blomeier, Nicholas Reinke, Hans-Christian Schmid, Bernd Lange, Drama, rosary, religious, conflicts, priest, exorcism

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