Film Archive


Losing Sonia

Documentary Film
50 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Katarzyna Slesicka, Sideways Film
Radka Franczak
Radka Franczak, Michael Ackerman, Ita Zbroniec-Zajt, Anna Wydra, Małgorzata Szyłak
Radka Franczak, Jarosław Kamiński
Radka Franczak
This film takes us along into the day-to-day life of Sister Christina, a young orthodox nun. She prays by candlelight, mows the lawn in front of the convent, or removes old screws from dismantled wooden windows. She paints icons, celebrates New Year’s Eve with her fellow nuns. In interviews she talks about her decision for God and her initial difficulties in the convent. When we accompany Christina – whose worldly name is Sonia – on a visit to her parents, we begin to have an idea what is haunting Sonia and her family: traumas from the Soviet age, war, camps, exile, socialist education.
The film enables us to understand why a young woman would choose the strict life of a convent, leave her family, and turn to God for refuge. Expanding the traditional biographical focus on one individual, the director shows how Soviet history has become deeply engrained in the lives of these people and left a heritage whose shadow looms even over subsequent generations. Sonia’s mother says that human instincts were broken by the authorities. She has even lost her daughter. But Sonia has found her way. In the final scene we see her as Sister Christina, happily ringing the bells of the church tower.
– Antje Stamer