Konfirmation (LFS01421 3)

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Confirmation and graduation in Philippsburg


Festzug durch die Stadt mit Musikkapelle.


Reference / film number :  LFS01421 3
Date :  1963
Coloration :  Color
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:02:04
Reel format :  8 mm
Genre :  Amateur movie
Thematics :  Identity, Traditions, Religious feasts and events

Context and analysis

The first short shot of the film seems almost abstract: a flag with a cross hanging on a wall that extends far into the picture. It suddenly disappears and the room opens: A brass band plays in a garden, confirmands pass by. When you turn the corner, altar servers in their white and red robes are briefly visible in the background. Philippsburg, March 1963: The Evangelical and Catholic Church celebrate a solemn ritual on the same day: the confirmation and the church dismissal of the Catholic elementary school students, which have already been adopted by the school (comparison: White Sunday in Philippsburg 1962).

Confirmation is the yes to one's own baptism, which is publicly affirmed with the festival service. With the acquisition of religious maturity, it stands for entry into religious adulthood. For many of the confirmands, it also represents the threshold into civil adult life. In the 1960s - the school year ended in spring - it coincided with the end of the 8-year school year for elementary school students.

The two churches share the scene of their appearance. The train of the confirmation students and the train of the discharge scholars go in the opposite direction. The movements in the shot at the beginning of the film overlap inconspicuously: some of the altar servers seen in the background curiously turn their heads towards the confirmands. The two churches share the scene in the sunlight of this Sunday - and they try to take possession of it in their own way in the 'medium' of the procession.

The scene is familiar, the scene is the Philippsurger Söternstraße. The confirmands turn the corner and come in a half-close shot with the pastor and the church representatives in the foreground. They step in and out of the picture. The filmic image makes their movement appear even more than the movement of progress, which is the procession. The scene also appears on another level in the image space when it opens up to the depth of the street in the next shot. Striding into the picture, the train of the confirmands ultimately no longer moves only in everyday space: the facades illuminated by the sun, the street broken down into areas of light and shadow - it is also a different room, a scene in which the procession creates her own space in which the confirmands enter a new phase of life. The procession separates and connects the past, present and future. The setting follows seamlessly and at the same time becomes a highlighted moment: in the moving image, the procession emerges for a moment as what it is - a medium in which, in this case, the transition to a new phase of life takes place.

Then the train of the Catholic pupils passed the camera, walking in the opposite direction on Söternstrasse. The scene repeats itself differently. The train strides past the camera in the near vicinity - the head of a trumpeter who turns around comes into the picture. The pastor appears with the altar servers behind the brass band, finally the main characters, the discharge scholars, the older ones further back, many of the young women in bright costumes. They appear in the movement of the procession by walking towards the camera - and they become visible again in the space of the street when they move away from the camera. The Catholic procession takes shape, its sections also stand out through the colors. And in the end it becomes part of the street space that opens up with a slight swivel - a street that is more than just everyday space: an image space that also changes with the procession into the path of transition that the students make this sunday.

The processional processions of the confirmands and the Catholic discharge scholars refer to each other - they are cut almost parallel. They become the medium in which the two churches are presented in contrast: reserved and reserved for the Evangelical, opulent and colorful for the Catholic. The processions relate to each other - and in their movement of progress they also emerge beyond the well-known ritual. The processions can be seen as the ritual performances they are. In the moving images of the film, they can appear for a moment in between everyday and sacred space - as the scene that becomes the threshold of transition for young people.

Reiner Bader

Places and monuments


  1. This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.