He has his appearance indeed. First, however, you see pictures of the place where the event will take place. People - mostly women - are waiting at the Philippsburg market place at the Catholic Church. The music underlying the film is just right: Schubert's Ave Maria, sung by Karel Gott. The new Catholic pastor, Wolfram Hartmann, was introduced into his office on that day in May 1971.
The place presents itself as a stage for the upcoming religious ritual. There is a view of the new priest's house on the market square, adorned with the flags of the city and the church. A young woman in a red mini dress walks past - and draws attention to the changes in women's fashion. The square with the cenotaph for the fallen is seen in a long shot, and the camera also looks briefly into a flagged street in the city center. The amateur filmmaker and spokesman is not only concerned with the event itself, but with the scene on the spot. He draws on the possibilities of the documentary to show more precisely what can hardly be seen in television reports. The scene gets its own documentary dramaturgy, in which the audience is also on stage.
The film first brings together what belongs to the scene on this special day. The church tower that rises into the beautiful weather sky; the waiting people standing in groups on the wall and talking; the nave with the Philippsbrunnen, which becomes an eye-catcher in the backlight: a mood is highlighted that stands out from the everyday. Then the new pastor enters the scene. Coming from behind a car, he takes a sovereign step past a row of spectators to be greeted by the chairman of the parish council. At the entrance to the church, the camera is closer, showing the new priest shaking hands again before cutting to the crowd behind him. He is the main character of a performance that is based not only on the church ritual, but also on patterns that are known from the mass media. The young priest - he is just 25 years old - becomes the main actor, whose face now appears large in the picture: The close-up of the protagonist - like in the feature film - becomes the visual highlight of the film until the settings change again afterwards wide.
In its tendency, reality follows the representations on television and not vice versa - this is one of the theses in early television theory. Seen in this way, the amateur film stages an ecclesiastical event, which in turn has already taken on something from the productions in the audiovisual mass media. And the amateur film repeats this event with documentary means: the close-up of the main character turns into a visual culmination point, but the young pastor has - especially as an atypical, young representative of his profession - a scope to present himself individually. As such an 'other' Catholic priest, he is already entering the scene, and the close-ups that now follow give him the space to show himself for the camera: confident and creating his own role in this profession, which is burdened by the religious convention ,
Then it is part of the festive process again. The parents emerge from the crowd, while an elementary school class serenades the new priest. The introductory ritual takes its course: at the entrance to the church he puts on his liturgical garb alongside the pastor and chaplain. The new pastor, who has already appeared in a separate, unconventional 'picture' for the audience, disappears with the other dignitaries in the dark of the church door.
And the subsequent pictures of the procession, which picks him up at his parents' house and leads him to the church, only makes him visible late at the end of the train. The young priest fits into the ecclesiastical ritual, which, however, also gives him the space in other places to take on his role in his own way. And this at a time - in the early 1970s - when the public was talking about the crisis of the traditional priestly image. The amateur film of around four minutes gives the new priest all the more the opportunity to break up the defined role model of his profession. The film makes the religious convention appear as a stage on which the protagonist shows himself with an authenticity that becomes a local event. The new pastor has his appearance.
Places and monuments
ANDERS, GÜNTHER, Die Welt als Phantom und Matrize, in: ders., Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen, Band 1, C.H. Beck, München 1956