Weißer Sonntag (LFS01413 4)

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Events filmed or related



Communion procession in Philippsburg 1957.


Reference / film number :  LFS01413 4
Date :  1957
Coloration :  Color
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:01:36
Reel format :  8 mm
Genre :  Amateur movie
Thematics :  Identity, Traditions, Religious feasts and events
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

It starts with a kind of foreplay. The procession of the ministrants emerges in a long shot, bearing the symbol banners in front of the camera - the Alpha Omega sign or the Christ monogram. The scene is brightly lit by the sun, and slowly the city pastor at the end of the pageant comes into focus, passing by with the group in a half-close to the camera. The scene for communion is opened. Scenes as they are known on this day, the familiar religious ritual, the symbols and symbolic acts of procession and worship.

The White Sunday is in the Catholic Church, the first Sunday after Easter, in which usually the First Communion takes place - especially in Philippsburg with its Catholic majority a highlight of the church year. Originally, White Sunday's name refers to the white christening gown worn by adults in the early church for a week after their baptism. Even for the children, who are about ten years old, the consecration of communion candles to the baptismal candles and to remember the baptism. First communion, with the renewal of baptism, is the conscious incorporation into the Christian community. Prerequisite for this is the so-called rational age, the age from which they are mature enough to deal with their faith. With catechesis and communion lessons, they have come to know the important contents of faith and are able to distinguish between simple bread and wine and the changed gifts of worship. They have made the first confession and can now for the first time come to the Lord's table to receive the Holy Supper.

The scene is opened with the procession of the ministrants - it is the beginning of a "performance" that takes place at the same time for the amateur film camera. This camera films the procession, she films the everyday space in which the pageant has its place. It shows the street space and the places with the spectators. It shows the procession in its movement - a movement with which the everyday space is transformed into another space and yet remains present as the everyday framework in which the scenes take place.

The scene is open. Now the procession appears in a long shot, comes almost directly to the camera, ahead three ministrants and the chapel in civilian clothes. The setting shows much of the surrounding space, the escape of the street in the sunlight, the spectators to the right and to the left of the pageant: The everyday environment frames the movement of progress with which the Communion children appear on their way. The parish priest between the ministrants comes into view in the shot, the children behind in the half-close, in the background are spectators on the sidewalk. The procession progresses in the everyday space - and in this movement creates its own sacral space in a sense only. This intermediate becomes all the more visible when, in the following shot, the view changes to the rear view: The procession moves into the picture until it disappears after a cut behind the spectators who stream into the picture. Thus, the film shows time and again the space in which the everyday passes into its exception: in the performance of a communion procession.

The procession of the ministrants opens the scene like a prelude, and in a kind of epilogue the communion children come into view again. In several shots they appear from a far, in the random situation of everyday life on this day. The film opens its perspective even further, when the procession is now only visible in the background. In the foreground, the construction site of the Philippsbrunnen with the barrier indicates the position of the camera. The cinematic space opens up to this situation of everyday life - and thus refers even more to the everyday context in which the procession creates a different, sacred space. By chance, the view opens even further on the stage of everyday life, on which the scenes of communion take place. And the children almost disappear as they pass by the overpowering church wall in the distance.

Reiner Bader

Places and monuments


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