The White Ribbon (2009)


The White Ribbon – Michael Haneke

Das weiße Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (original title)

Summary:  In the years before the First World War, a series of incidents occur in a village in northern Germany.  A doctor is hospitalised when his horse trips over a hidden wire outside his home, the next day a farmer’s wife is killed when she falls through deteriorating planks in a sawmill; where some incidents are fortuitous, others seem to be intentional.  The culprit or cause behind the attacks may change, but what remains the same is the village’s children and their peculiar interest in those who’ve fallen victim.

My Review: Shot in black and white the village and its inhabitants, all decisively clothed, effortlessly had me believe The White Ribbon was not shot in this century.  Its pace is almost hypnotic, which was praised by critics along with the film’s convincing cinematography, especially thanks (I think) to the now elderly village schoolteacher narrating throughout, reflecting back on the events and putting the viewer amongst his confusion, his attempts in trying to make sense of the incidents and questioning its relevance to the First World War.  Director Michael Haneke admitted this film is about “the roots of evil”, whether that be political, religious or both, although I do struggle in understanding it may be ritual punishment it definitely encourages deeper thinking.

My Rating: 1.5/5

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