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Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe accompany a group of young vicars to a Protestant seminar in Wittenberg. They document how these men and women, for over a year, grapple with themselves, each other, and their faith. Documentary.


“Every man must do two things alone: his must do his own believing and his own dying.” The Martin Luther quote that the filmmakers Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe use to open their documentary is unequivocal. What remains unclear, however, is the following: An image of a candle being lit, a liturgy chant ringing out in the background, the blurry camera shot moving upwards to an overpowering crucifix. Wright and Kolbe follow a group of candidates of the Protestant seminar for preachers in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. The director of studies calls it a “time for self-declaration.” This is the period when all Lutheran vicars, most around the age of 30, come together after their first set of exams in theology to live in this “artificial world,” as the pastor’s daughter Ulrike calls it, in order to “challenge and explore their faith with and in front of a group.” Wright and Kolbe are interested in these young theologians and the opportunities this year gives them to grow spiritually. At the end of the yearlong seminar, the vicars decide if this is the right path for them. The film team represents the view from the outside, the view of the “non-believers,” and uses this position to engage with the issues at the core of this film: At some point in the film the boom operator Wright stands in front of the camera and directly interacts with the protagonists. These moments are the most fascinating in this quiet documentary, and in a way also force the viewer to think about his/her own life choices. Wright comments at the end of the film that he really “never thought that this time would trigger so many crises for so many people.” At this point in the film, if not before, it is obvious that the young vicars find themselves in a situation in which everyone in his/her life knows or will know.

Jens Mayer

Translation: Carla MacDougall


Deutschland 2014, 90 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Stefan Kolbe, Chris Wright
Author: Stefan Kolbe, Chris Wright
DOP: Stefan Kolbe
Montage: Chris Wright
Distributor: Edition Salzgeber
Release: 10.04.2014




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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