When teenager Maria (van Acken) pledges her life to Jesus, she embarks on a journey that will bring friction with her mother (Weisz) and her own impulses. What follows, told in 14 chapters, is her attempt to find spiritual enlightenment.
Composed in 12 static tableaus, this austere portrait of religious devotion follows a teenage girl’s desolate path to martyrdom. An act of faith? Or a drastic escape? Lea van Acken is outstanding but Dietrich Brüggemann’s severe gaze invites voyeurism, not empathy. A stony, stifling if fascinating film.
Ascetic and unwavering, the film's gaze on the ultimate form of religious devotion offers the viewer few comforts but plenty to chew over. Not for Nic Cage fans.