Feature Documentary, 92 min, Germany 2019
Producer: Martin Heisler
Director: Christoph Röhl
Cinematography: Juan Sarmiento G., Julia Weingarten
Studio Mitte: ADR, Color Grading: Tobias Schaarschmidt, DCP-Mastering, Deliveries, Coordination Postproduction: Ute Aichele
Film info: DEFENDER OF THE FAITH tells the story of a man who dedicated his life to preserving the Church but instead led it into its greatest crisis: Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. During his 30 years working within the Vatican he was the key figure in restoring fundamental Catholic doctrine after a brief period of modernisation in the 1960s. The film’s interview partners, who have all worked within the clerical system, describe how Ratzinger’s policies contributed to the dramatic loss of moral authority that the Church suffers from today. The film deals with Ratzinger’s past to understand his mind-set.
This is an epic story, with a tragic hero in the central role. Ratzinger, who believed that truth could exclusively be found in the teachings of the Catholic Church and that contemporary society was lost if it did not rediscover its Catholic values, was forced to acknowledge that his greatest enemies were inside the Church, even amongst his inner circle. By the time that he became aware of his errors, he found himself surrounded by chaos and enemies, his whole world crumbling around him.