Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. Germany, 2006. 23/5 Filmproduktion GmbH, Arte, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Südwestrundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Screenplay by Bernd Lange. Cinematography by Bogumil Godfrejow. Produced by Hans-Christian Schmid. Production Design by Christian M. Goldbeck. Costume Design by Bettina Marx. Film Editing by Bernd Schlegel, Hansjorg Weissbrich. Berlin Film Festival 2006. European Film Awards 2006. Toronto International Film Festival 2006.
The true story of Anneliese Michel, who died of starvation after an exorcism in Germany in 1976, is the inspiration for this fictional film (the same story also provided the basis for the horror film The Exorcism Of Emily Rose). Sandra Hüller is superb as a young epileptic girl from a conservative Catholic family who insists that her illness won’t impede her ability to leave home and pursue her studies at university. Her mother is apprehensive, while her father encourages her to spread her wings. Unfortunately, her seizures combine with overwhelming pressures to do well in school and work against her health, and she in her religious fervour believes that she is being tormented by demons that are possessing her. This fascinating look at religious obsession and the terrifying world of adolescence promotes itself as a horror movie but is actually a deeply upsetting but brilliantly acted and directed drama.