In the 1970s, high school graduate Michaela moves from her strictly Catholic parental home in a village to Tübingen to take up her studies. Tentatively, she begins to enjoy a more independent lifestyle but then her epilepsy, which has been present for years, becomes more pronounced. After a particularly strenuous study assignment, she collapses. Instead of taking her to hospital, her boyfriend decides to take her to her parents. They believe Michaela to be possessed by the devil, and the terrified young woman agrees to an exorcism by two priests. Severely weakened, both physically and psychologically, she dies after several sessions.
Based on a real-life case, Hans-Christian Schmid’s portrait of religious fanaticism adopts a restrained approach that almost feels like documentary. Unlike the church from which the self-appointed exorcists hail, he foregoes showy effects and hype – and this makes the victim’s suffering all the more moving. Hansjörg Weißbrich’s rhythmic and versatile editing underlines the dramatic arc.
by Hans-Christian Schmid
with Sandra Hüller, Burghart Klaußner, Imogen Kogge, Frederike Adolph, Anna Blomeier, Nicolas Reinke, Jens Harzer, Walter Schmidinger, Irene Kugler, Johann Adam Oest, Eva Löbau
Germany 2006 German 93’ Colour Rating R12


  • Sandra Hüller (Michaela Klingler)
  • Burghart Klaußner (Karl Klingler)
  • Imogen Kogge (Marianne Klingler)
  • Frederike Adolph (Helga Klingler)
  • Anna Blomeier (Hanna Imhof)
  • Nicolas Reinke (Stefan Weiser)
  • Jens Harzer (Martin Borchert)
  • Walter Schmidinger (Gerhard Landauer)
  • Irene Kugler (Director of the Student Residence)
  • Johann Adam Oest (Prof. Schneider)
  • Eva Löbau (Nurse)


Director Hans-Christian Schmid
Screenplay Bernd Lange
Cinematography Bogumił Godfrejow
Camera Assistant Yvonne Geiler
Editing Hansjörg Weißbrich, Bernd Schlegel
Sound Marc Parisotto
Sound Design Dirk W. Jacob, Christian M. Goldbeck
Sound Mixing Martin Steyer
Art Director Eva Maria Stiebler
Costumes Bettina Marx
Make-Up Monika Münnich, Nadine Schränkler
Assistant Director Christopher Doll
Casting Simone Bär
Line Producer Anja C. Klement
Location Manager Nina Klingen
Production Manager Katja Siegel
Producer Hans-Christian Schmid
Executive Producer Uli Putz
Commissioning Editors Sabine Holtgreve, Georg Steinert, Wolf-Dietrich Brücker, Bettina Reitz
Co-Production Arte Kehl
BR München
WDR Köln
SWR Baden-Baden

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Additional information

Followed by a conversation between Hansjörg Weißbrich and Evelyn Rack.