Cannes Film Festival Premiere
An Interview with Michael Haneke
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On the eve of World War I, strange accidents in a small Protestant village in Northern Germany involve the children and teenagers of a choir run by the schoolteacher and their families. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery as these events gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual.
Like a Twilight Zone episode directed by Antonioni, The White Ribbon weaves an unsettling and enigmatic spell. Michael Haneke's film is set just before World War I in a village in northern Germany, where a series of strange occurrences take place over several months. These occurrences are sinister and cruel and often involve the children of the village--not merely as victims (although child abuse seems to be a far-from-isolated event) but also as perpetrators. At least that's the way it appears. Nothing is completely spelled out in Haneke's scheme, which hints and insinuates and thoroughly gets under the viewer's skin over the course of 144 edgy minutes. We might notice the children are of an age that will make them mature participants in the horror of Germany in the 1930s and '40s, but even this is left as an unemphasized point. Since Haneke is an expert at denying explicit conclusions for his projects (see also Caché and Funny Games for more on the subject), we shouldn't be surprised that he withholds the answers to the questions he poses, or that the film is even more powerful because of this withholding. Adding to the effect is Christian Berger's Oscar-nominated black-and-white cinematography, which has a ghostly quality appropriate to the topic. In the end, all the strange happenings of the village are absorbed into the town's rhythm of life--which might be the most disturbing conclusion of all. --Robert Horton
Stills from The White Ribbon (Click for larger image)
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Artsy film if you are into that thing. After reading reviews on IMDB I get it now. My husband walked out half way through the movie and I stayed waiting for answers. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Espen Jensen
Some of the best B/W cinematography on display.
Small, inbred creepy story
unable to fully follow the storyline due to the subtitles typed with white letters and a large part of the film was shot against white or almost white backgrounds like snow or... Read morePublished 4 months ago by SJ G
This movie is in German with English subtitles. I missed that fact when I ordered my copy but really enjoyed this movie, the strange things that keep happening in this village will... Read morePublished 5 months ago by AllenL1971
Haneke gives us movies where the obvious does not happen. What happens in movies does not happen in Haneke. You will not get to the who, what, why, when, or where. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Triggah
This was the worst movie I've ever seen. I was told it was very disturbing prior to watching it. Indeed, the most disturbing thing about it was how incredibly boring it was; or... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lizbeth
This film deserves all the praise and awards it's been given. This is what contemporary cinema can be. Challenging, stunning to look at, and really thought provoking. Read morePublished 8 months ago by addison de witt
|Topic||From this Discussion|
The sound of the voices of the featured actors is important, even in a language that is not your first. And have you been possessed by some anal-retentive Germanic spirit - trying to deny subtitled versions to those who might want them??? verboten?? Vielleicht Du sollst verboten sein....
Feb 26, 2010 by S. Nathe | See all 5 posts
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