Profile: Dietrich Brüggemann

Profile: Dietrich Brüggeman

German writer and director discusses religion ahead of release of new film Stations of the Cross

Name: Dietrich Brüggemann

Background: Munich-born writer / director who made his name on the film festival circuit with witty character dramas Run, If You Can (2010) and Move (2012).

What’s he up to now? Brüggemann’s latest film Stations of the Cross is a change of pace, a powerful and formally challenging drama that follows a week in the life of a young girl who belongs to a strict religious sect, told in 14 fixed-angle shots. It won the Berlin Silver Bear for Best Script in 2014, as well as the EIFF Student Jury Prize.

On the relevance of religion: ‘In the 90s you could have the idea that religion was not important any more, but then we had Islam, fundamentalists in America, and that German pope [Benedict XVI]. And also the rather fierce anti-religious movement led by Dawkins, who also has a very fundamentalist way of arguing. All that kept coming back and at some point it just led into the ideas for this film.’

On his filmmaking influences: ‘I have one huge influence, both aesthetically and philosophically, in the way he looks at his characters. It’s Roy Andersson, the Swedish director, whose films I really adore: I watch them on my knees, so to speak.

On his initial plans for this film: ‘We were attempting to make the film in 3D, but couldn’t get the money in the end. To be honest, I don’t like 3D, I think it’s crap. But dialectically, discussing from that departure point of “how should 3D be done?”, I think maybe it can be done in this way. Watching a fixed-angle film like this, is an experience quite different from watching normal film. It’s more like meditating on set images. Your gaze wanders freely and that space draws you in, whereas in a normal film you dismantle space through single shots. And 3D might have worked beautifully in that way, but it didn’t happen.’

Stations of the Cross is on limited release from Fri 28 Nov.

Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg)

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • Germany
  • 1h 47min
  • 12
  • Directed by: Dietrich Brüggemann
  • Written by: Anna Brüggemann
  • Cast: Lucie Aron, Anna Brüggemann, Michael Kamp
  • UK release: 28 November 2014

Religious drama about a 14-year-old fundamentalist Catholic and her journey to be closer to Jesus.