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The White Ribbon [Blu-ray] (2009)

Michael Haneke  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Michael Haneke
  • Format: Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00386OWUC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The White Ribbon [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Making of The White Ribbon
My Life
Cannes Film Festival Premiere
An Interview with Michael Haneke

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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)











Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
116 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Village of the Damned January 25, 2010
Format:DVD
Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" could be considered a mystery in that things happen for no apparent reason. The Doctor (Rainer Bock) breaks his arm after falling off his horse, which tripped over a wire strung between two trees. Not long after, someone abducts the eldest son of the Baron (Ulrich Tukur); he isn't found until the next morning, at which point it's discovered that he had been bound and beaten with a cane. A barn owned by the Pastor (Burghart Klaußner) is burned to the ground. The mentally challenged son of the Midwife (Susanne Lothar) is viciously attacked and almost blinded. Why is all of this happening? Are they acts of revenge? Are they punishments for the sin of weakness? Are they the beginnings of war, intolerance, and terrorism? Your guess is as good as mine. This movie isn't about solutions.

What is it about, then? The story takes place in the days before World War I, when authority was not questioned and life was lived according to much simpler routines. The setting is a German farming community, which has maintained stability by not upsetting the "natural order"; it was expected that the Baron would own the land, the men would have control over their women and children, and the peasants would not have the same rights as their superiors. The Pastor, for example, raises his children not to love God so much as fear Him, and he continuously instills the idea that they must feel guilty for everything that they do. So as to remind them of the path of righteousness from which they have strayed, he ties a white ribbon onto their arms - a symbol of purity.

But in spite of outward appearances, purity is not something to be found behind closed doors.
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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Going to win the Oscar in 2010 January 4, 2010
Or it should - for Best Foreign Film. The best way to describe it is to think of Bergman's "The Virgin Spring" updated to a small German Protestant town immediately before World War I. The film's is shot in austere black and white. One image might be the raw intense power of two candles burning...this will change...to a mob burning down a barn later in the movie. It is all very unsettling and that is the raw power of the film.

Ostensibly the film is a story of accidents, deaths, suicides happening without explanation in this insulated religious village. Some can be accounted for by revenge and despair but others appear to have no explanation at all except that a cancer of distrust, hatred, repression, and (even)meanness is descending on the town. As we know (historically) this is the core group of people - who twenty years later - will be turning to National Socialism (Hitler) for answers. Yes, twenty years later the same persons will switch from white ribbons (totalitarian symbols of innocence) to black ribbons (totalitarian symbols of loyalty). Sociology and psychology still disappoint in providing reasons why humans act so cruelly to one another. The director Michael Haneke seizes upon that reality. He makes the film deliberately ambiguous as we watch a society disintegrate because the bonds of spiritual love and tolerance were never there in the first place.

This is a thinking person's film that seems to be directed more to the subconscious than the conscious. The return to black and white cinematography is integral and "very" effective. That technique allowed the film to move in waves of moods - in the way that Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" does.
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90 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, strange, and eerie...a great film... January 17, 2010
Format:DVD
I have read much about Michael Haneke, but have never seen a film of his until this one. Haneke is a genuinely polarising filmmaker, some thinking he's a great artist and others who think he's a shock entertainer with no talent. So I went to see what all the hoopla was about with this film, which many people are calling his best.

This is a great film.

The White Ribbon is a deeply haunting, cerebral, strange, rewarding film, one that will make you think for days afterwards (a critic reviewing this film said it would haunt you for days. Try weeks!). Shot in beautiful, shimmering black and white (in fact, this is some of the best photography in a film that I've ever seen), the story revolves around a German village just prior to WWI, and the strange, eerie, creepy, and unsettling things going on around it. In some ways, The White Ribbon is reminiscent of unsettling horror films like Dreyer's Vampyr and many J-horror films (like Kurosawa's Cure) where things are deliberately left unanswered and the loose ends really puzzle you on a very deep, subconscious level. Many films have loose ends but I don't think I've ever seen a film have as many loose ends as this one does, but that's a good thing. The film even starts with a narrator saying "I think it happened this way. I'm not really sure". There are many nasty things going on, and many have suggested this is due to the repressed, religious upbringing of the village, but I'm not sure. To Haneke's credit, he never answers these things directly, and he also doesn't answer them in interviews that he's done. This makes the film far more effective and deeply troubling. Even writing about the film now makes me uncomfortable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding my ancestors
When I saw that movie I was able to understand my parents and grandparents, who were German, much better. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by M. Roer
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Ribbon
This DVD provides excellent insight to the everyday culture of a small village in Northern Germany. On first impression, it appears the children
are abused and suppressed. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Gary W. Phelps
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and haunting
There are few films I have enjoyed as much as the White Ribbon. I've
seen it before and when I got this copy I popped it in the player to see
if it was a good copy and I... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Randal R. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars A crucial history lesson.
This story is all about paternalistic societies. Societies ruled by men where women and children are mere pawns in the male ego aggrandizement game. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dennis Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars a movie to watch more than once
It's intriguing and beautifully acted.It has depth and the fact that there is no neat resolution somehow feels right. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth Riach
4.0 out of 5 stars The White Ribbon...
First, let me state the obvious:

Authority is all...Or is it?

By the time I went through the 2+ hours of the movie, I realized the following:

The... Read more
Published 7 months ago by D. S. HARDEN
5.0 out of 5 stars gets you involved into the german psychic before Hitler
was very impressed by the depth of those characters, very haunting, kept me hooked to the end. Extra ordinary movie
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Madak Kadam
2.0 out of 5 stars May Be Called More Intellectually Rigorous Style Than Most
The White Ribbon, 2009. In that eventful year 1913, a year before the outbreak of World War I, strange and brutal incidents threaten to shatter a rural northern German town's... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
5.0 out of 5 stars Seething resentment
Beautifully observed piece about the perversions of power and the delusion of order. Disconnections at the point where connections are usually taken for granted: between father and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by W. Rodick
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Origins of Evil
'White Ribbon' postulates an answer to a hitherto largely unasked question of "elephant in the room" proportions: is the pathology of right wing extremism, Germany's Nazis in this... Read more
Published 10 months ago by SnoopDopeyDogg
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German Language??
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
scratched and stained disc Be the first to reply
The White Ribbon Release Date in the US??? Be the first to reply
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