Next Article in Journal
Religion and International Migration: A Case Study of Ukraine
Next Article in Special Issue
Finding God in Pawlikowski’s Ida
Previous Article in Journal
The Congregational Social Work Education Initiative: Toward a Vision for Community Health through Religious Tradition and Philanthropy
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Dardenne Brothers and the Invisible Ethical Drama: Faith without Faith
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Religions 2016, 7(6), 63; doi:10.3390/rel7060063

“Present Your Bodies”: Film Style and Unknowability in Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes and Dietrich Brüggemann’s Stations of the Cross

Film Studies, King’s College London, 452N Norfolk Building, Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS, UK
Academic Editor: Joseph Kickasola
Received: 2 March 2016 / Revised: 20 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Film and Lived Theology)

Abstract

Since 2005, a number of European films have emerged examining the legacy of Christianity in Western Europe, and the ways in which men, women and children struggle to negotiate questions of religion and secularity, the personal and the institutional, faith and doubt. This article looks at two of these films—Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes (2009) and Dietrich Brüggemann’s Stations of the Cross (2014)—in relation to questions of religious experience, the female body and film style. In both films the battle between these opposing categories is played out on the bodies of women—a paraplegic MS sufferer in Lourdes, an anorexic teen in Stations of the Cross—and both the films end ambiguously with what may, or may not, be a miracle of sorts: a confirmation of faith or a rebuttal. I wish to connect this ambiguity to the use of a very distinctive mise-en-scene in both films, which relies on a heavily restricted colour palate; highly formalised, painterly-compositions; and crucially what David Bordwell has termed “planimetric photography”: a shooting style that eschews depth or diagonals, refusing the spectator entrance into the image and holding her instead at a deliberate distance. My argument, in short, is that these stylistic choices—while gesturing towards a tradition of Christian art—also refuse the spectator either visual or haptic knowledge of the events that the characters undergo. Rather, they are suggestive of the fundamental unknowability that characterises religious experience, leaving us alone, outside of the action, forced to negotiate ourselves between belief and doubt. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lourdes (2009); Stations of the Cross (2014); planimetric shot; unknowability; cinematic staging Lourdes (2009); Stations of the Cross (2014); planimetric shot; unknowability; cinematic staging
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Wheatley, C. “Present Your Bodies”: Film Style and Unknowability in Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes and Dietrich Brüggemann’s Stations of the Cross. Religions 2016, 7, 63.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top