Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Sandra Hüller, Burghart Klaußner, Imogen Kogge, Anna Blomeier, Nicholas Reinke
Director: Hans-Christian Schmid
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Based on a true story that inspired the horror film The Exorcism of Emily Rose. An epileptic girl suffers a breakdown during her first year at university, then decides to seek help from a priest who reinforces her convicti... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
Germany's equally impressive answer to Emily Rose
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 01/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Requiem (Hans-Christian Schmid, 2006)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Scott Derrickson's 2005 reimagining of Felicitas Goodman's nonfiction book on the Anneliese Michel possession case, is one of the best American horror films of the past decade, and arguably the best from a major studio. The source material, however, by virtue of the case itself, belongs to the Germans. It's no surprise that German director Hans-Christian Schmid (Crazy, It's a Jungle Out There) and first-time feature writer Bernd Lange crafted what can be seen as an answer to Emily Rose with Requiem, a decidedly different take on the Michel case, but one that is just as effective in its treatment.
The story concerns Michaela Klingler (stage actress Sandra Huller, in only her second big-screen appearance), a college student on her way to becoming a teacher. Vague references are made early on to bad events that occurred in her past, but the first glimpse we get that something is amiss comes when we see what appears to be a minor seizure. We get more vague mentions of what happened in the past, and a lot of short scenes of Michaela taking her prescription anti-seizure medication. Michaela, it comes out, is convinced that she is being assaulted by evil spirits. Those around her have very different opinions as to the accuracy of her beliefs. The priest who serves her parish is convinced she has a mental problem, while the guy he replaced is intrigued with the idea that Michaela may be possessed. Her mother, deeply and conservatively religious, is of the opinion that the only "evil spirits" involved are those any college girl is exposed to when away from home. Her father just wants his daughter to get better, and doesn't care what the reasons are, as long as they can be fixed. Her best friend, the aggressively atheist Hanna (Anna Blomeier), thinks Michaela's religious upbringing is to blame. And the boyfriend-- who knows what he thinks? Everyone's keeping him in the dark.
If it sounds like a farce, that is because, in part, it is-- albeit a deadly serious one. There were never any solid answers in the Anneliese Michel case, and Schmid and Derrickson take very differing approaches to their source material. In a sense, the two movies are of a piece, as The Exorcism of Emily Rose picks up almost precisely as Requiem ends-- with the exception of one half-hearted attempt at talking to the "demons", Requiem shows nothing of Michaela's final days. I say this not as a spoiler, but as a way of dissuading those who continue to refer to this as a horror film. It is nothing of the sort. This is a drama, or more accurately a character sketch; it's not about the exorcism, it's about Michaela Klingler (or, more accurately, Anneliese Michel). Without spoiling either movie, it's safe to say that both want you to take away a different idea of what actually happened in the case (and, interestingly, both takes on it are different than the conclusions reached in Goodman's book on the case, which makes experiencing all three interpretations in a relatively short period of time feel not in the least repetitious); either is plausible, depending on your beliefs.
Differences or no, the strengths of both movies lie in the same place, and depend on the same thing-- their lead actress. Where Jennifer Carpenter's strength lay in the dramatic difference between Emily Rose the vivacious college student and Emily Rose the demon-possessed monster, Sandra Huller's lies in showing how we get from point A to point B. No matter what happened to the woman, what captures the viewer in this case is the sense of loss of self that Michaela Klingler suffers over the three or four months spanned by the film. That's why, both in this case and that of Emily Rose, what the director and screenwriter want you to believe about the Anneliese Michel case is ultimately irrelevant. What's important, what's compelling, is the universal themes raised-- the smothered child suddenly thrust into the big, wide world, and the anxiety issues that are bound to follow.
What really happened to Anneliese Michel? We will never know; the only person who can tell us has been dead for over two decades. We, living in the twenty-first century, have been remarkably fortunate to have people speculating on that question who are capable of offering up such compelling thoughts on it. ****
Solid film, shabby Amercian cover art
Producer | New York, NY United States | 12/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is probably the closest to the truth any film maker will come to telling the story of Anneliese Michel, the girl that also "inspired" the more sensationalist production of Exorcism of Emily Rose.
You're not going to find paranormal phenomena, gore and chilling hallucinations in this movie. Instead you'll see rock solid performances about a poor girl who had epilepsy and most likely dissociative personality disorder with psychotic episodes. Who's parents and town priests chose to treat her with a 10 month long excorcsim rather than continue further treatment attempts by psychiatrists.
I'd like to point out that the cover art and advertising for this film is completely misleading, much to my surprise as the distributor is IFC Films. For decades now, American distributors choose to advertise foreign productions in a way where they appeal to the stupidest of all audiences. In this case, Requiem is sold as a hack horror flic that rides the success wave of "Emily Rose"...which it isn't at all. Shame on IFC."
A More Docile Approach to the REAL Story Behind "The Exorcis
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 10/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There has been quite a good number of movies that have been inspired by the life a German- Catholic young woman named Anneliese Michel, who was believed to have been possessed by 6 or more demonic entities. More or less, folks are very familiar with Scott Derrickson`s "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which may be the most popular one due to Hollywood`s marketing ability. Another film that depict her life is "Exorcism: the Possession of Gail Bowers" which I haven't seen yet. "REQUIEM" however, has been billed as the most accurate and truthful depiction of the events in Anneliese Michel's experience with exorcism and bouts with epilepsy. The film is directed by German director Hans-Christian Schmid and presents a dramatic approach of the true events rather than approaching them with the trappings of a horror movie. The names have been changed to protect the persons involved.
Germany in the late 1970's. Michaela Klingsler (played by Sandra Huller) is young devout Catholic woman who suffers from Epilepsy who is determined to get a college degree regardless of her condition. She sees education as a form of an `escape" away from her family's overly religious ways and traditional beliefs. She shows great potential in becoming a scholar and with a very timid support from her father (Burghart Klausner), she begins to excel in her studies. She also tries to build relationships while fighting a feeling of loneliness and sexual awakening. Several months after Michaela becomes a college student and she begins to experience strange things within her psyche; Michaela begins to hear voices, she begins to see things no one else could and what is more disturbing is that she has begun to be repulsed by religious objects, prayers and priests. Science says that she has a mental sickness but Michaela believes that she is being possessed by a demon. What is real or what is a hallucination? Michaela wants to subject herself to the rites of exorcism which may prove to be more than she had bargained for...
Hans-Christian Schmidt's "Requiem" unfolds more like a character-driven dramatization rather than a horror movie. Instead of following the usual horror movie trappings and diverting to fantastical recreations of demons spewing out goo-ish stuff , jumping out and screaming obscenities; "Requiem" is a docile film that keeps its tone quite low-key and very subtle. If you are expecting a movie with lots of scary images, gruesome make up, and strong dialogue then you may be a little disappointed and you should see "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" instead. However, if you are curious as who or what is the real Anneliese Michel then this movie will not disappoint.
A lot of the film's theme lies on the fabric of Michaela's potential insanity and a war of divine faith. Much of the lead character's belief lies on the fact that medicine cannot remedy her suffering and that relief may be found in the comfort of God's hand and the priests who try to aid in easing her suffering. The film's script manage to raise questions about faith, religious belief and medical science without becoming preachy and passing judgment. Her experiences present a question between the three notions of possession, epilepsy and mental imbalance, the director wisely asks the right questions and brings forth an area for bafflement.
"Requiem" takes a more focused approach on its humanism rather than subjecting the audience to elaborate `jump' scares and tricks with imagery. The script shows that Michaela is suffering, we witness her becoming more and more sickly, upset and towards the end, she becomes a more malevolent. The atmosphere gives off an aura that the film is a factual event and most of the demonic haunting is exhibited with Michaela's reactions and not on violent imagery. The screenplay also draws out the characters of Michaela's parents that gives them a feeling of helplessness; they are torn on what they have to do. Even the priests are given a somewhat of a contrasting characterization as one is able to embrace the possibility of a demonic possession as presented by father Martin (Jens Hurzor) and one who may be terrified to the point of denial in father Gerhard's persona (Walter Schmilinger). The film takes on a more relaxed approach and keeps its focus on Michaela and the situation that torments her. It is none the less unnerving as we see her deteriorating state of being.
I know it is difficult to portray a film supposedly full of factual events but director Schmid adapts the material very well; it also helps when the lead actress is as talented as Sandra Huller. Huller plays her role very well, with a restrained craft that will still bring some chills in your spine. Michaela believes she is being oppressed by evil spirits and the actress does a terrific job with the script. Huller would only do this when the she sees fit, after all, an oppressed-possessed individual would try to hide this fact as much as they could until it spirals out of their control. Huller plays her character with this understanding which makes it very powerful. Michaela is given a depth based on a controlled, awesome, innumerable mixture of emotions and sensations. It also brings questions as to what provoked the experiences; sexual awakening and modernization, stress from college, not taking her medicine or maybe all of the above?
"Requiem" is a film stripped down and is raw from any easy resolution to the questions. I liked the idea that the direction sidestepped the trappings of a horror movie but instead manages to bring the characters out in a compelling dramatization. Instead of invoking fear from stylized special effects and dumb jump scares, the film brings a persuasive feeling of dread by bringing forth its humanity. It makes one wonder if Michaela is indeed insane or just sick with epilepsy...or is it indeed ethereal? The doctor who tended to the real Anneliese Michel was recorded as saying: "there is no injection against the devil, Anneliese".
Director Schmid manages to ask the right questions without spoon-feeding his own conclusions to his viewers. It is easily one of the best films that have tackled the subject matter of demonic possession and exorcism. "Requiem" feels very authentic to a truthful story and there is nothing more unnerving than a horror movie based on factual events. The performance of Huller (who won best actress for this film) is worth the price of the dvd; she brings you straight into the psyche of Michaela that is very creepy but at the same time, so honest and sincere in simplicity. "Requiem" is a tumultuous journey with a young woman who just wants to live her life, stay true to her beliefs...demons or not.
Highly Recommended! [4+ Stars]
Not what I anticipated...
Christine R. Longden | Manchester, NH United States | 02/06/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Although the actors' portrayals in this film were well done, the film itself failed to strike a chord in me entirely. I believe that the actual topic of the film was tip-toed around as it took too long to get to the actual story. There was too much socializing and partying going on which abaded the true topic. The ending was extremely poor as it simply states the official outcome of the film's premise rather than take you through the meat of the process which is what would've been the real point to the film. If you really want to see this film I would not recommend purchasing it but rather renting it, if possible. Good day! :)"