A cream-colored tunic and stole hanging from a window, an old gray Skoda, a sign on the windshield: “Priester im Dienst”— priest on duty. Christine arranges books and vestments in a plastic trolley, they are the tools of her daily routine. For almost twenty years she has been faithfully dedicated to her chosen profession: Roman Catholic bishop.
Christine is sixty-five-years-old and lives with her friend Raphael in an old farm house in Upper Austria. She had a full life before becoming a bishop; she received a Catholic education and became a Benedictine nun as well as a high school teacher. She later met and married a divorced man, which caused her to lose the right to work for the Church. In 2002, after decades of fighting for women’s rights to join the priesthood, she and six other women embarked on a journey on the Danube and was ordained a priest by an Argentine bishop. The official Vatican excommunication did not prevent the group from forming a movement that today has hundreds of members around the world and which rejects exclusion from the Catholic faith.
The film intertwines moments from Christine’s daily life, her relationship with the faithful and long journeys, political battles and international activism with the apprenticeship of a new candidate for the priesthood. After a long period of silence, a few years ago Christine began to receive requests from women who wanted to prepare for the priesthood: the long-awaited meeting with younger female generation finally allows her to reconnect with her ideals, her personal journey and a painful yet powerful choice.
Italy-Austria, 2023, 75 min., Color
written and directed by
a Kon-Tiki Film production
in co-production with
La Banda Film (Austria)
Stadt Wien Kultur (MA 7)
IDS Industry Award 2021 – Solinas documentary for cinema
Development Grant Story Lab 2020
Docatwork Festival dei Popoli 2021
Chiara Campara (Verona, 1987) studied philosophy and documentary cinema in Milan. Her graduation short film Photofinish was selected in competition at the 2014 Festival dei Popoli. In the recent years she co-produced and co-directed Underground (an interactive documentary in competition at Visioni dal Mondo 2016 and winner of the “Best Webdoc Award” at Capodarco L’Altro Festival), Le Allettanti Promesse (made with Lorenzo Faggi, which won the Imperdibili award at the 2017 Festival dei Popoli and was selected at Visioni Italiane, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and Trento Film Festival) and the fictional feature Lessons of Love (produced by the Biennale College Cinema program and presented at the 2019 Venice Film Festival).