Inspired by actual events, this film tells the story of a young woman named Michaela Klinger who, torn between faith and sickness at the beginning of the 1970s, became the victim of an exorcism. Brought up by her parents in a strict Catholic household, Michaela moved to Tübingen at the age of 21 to take up studies in teaching. Although her father, always her ally, is fully supportive of the move, her anxious mother, who tries to keep her epileptic daughter bound up in a cocoon of bans and preventative measures, has mixed feelings about Michaela becoming a student.
Delighted to have put her lower middle-class environment behind her, Michaela immediately relishes her new-found freedom and soon makes friends with university students Hanna and Stefan. But Michaela’s past soon catches up with her: in spite of medication she begins to suffer from ever more epileptic fits and delusions. Only now she hears voices and believes herself to be possessed by demons. One morning Hanna finds Michaela lying unconscious among the upturned furniture in her room at the halls of residence. It becomes clear that Michaela can no longer conceal her traumatic past.
In desperation, she seeks help from a familiar source – her village church. She appeals to the trusted priest, Father Landauer, who introduces her to a colleague. After initial misgivings, Michaela agrees to a lengthy discussion with this young priest, whose name is Martin Borchert. Afterwards she feels relieved and even elated.
But her condition deteriorates while she is spending the Christmas holidays at her parents’ house. Michaela and her mother have a blazing row and Michaela subsequently has a violent fit. Not knowing how else to help their increasingly aggressive daughter, Michaela’s parents contact the priest. After careful discussion with the family and collective prayers, Michaela finally agrees to have an exorcism…
by Hans-Christian Schmid
with Sandra Hüller, Burghart Klaußner, Imogen Kogge
Germany 2006 93’

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