Film Archive

Jahr

Losing Sonia

Documentary Film
Poland
2012
50 minutes
subtitles: 
English
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

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.