Posted on 2/14/10 08:11 AM
After many years of championing the unrelenting and vivid art of his cold and austere character studies and bleak social commentaries through equally revealing colourized films, writer/director Michael Haneke keenly and abruptly switches pace in his new black and white art film 'The White Ribbon.'
Like many art films, 'The White Ribbon' is calculated and methodical in its approach to both the pacing of the story and the mise en scene, where Haneke captures the landscape and sentiments of a small German village shortly before the rise of WW1 in a spectacularly serene and convincing manner.
The first half of the film is utilized brilliantly in establishing the mystique and ambiguity of its intentions and raising the self reflexive questions relating to Hanekes work as an auteur; that being when or if he will introduce his trademark cynical realism to the plot or to one of his typically heartless protagonists.
Without revealing too much, it can be assured that this film does not disappoint in this regard and that Haneke stays true to form in a timelessly fantastic way, while displaying a new found versatility and talent by way of the sumptuous and meaningful settings and profound character studies from an essentially anti-modern world, something which Haneke had yet to embark on in his previous films.
The writing and acting is of a quality that borders on reality and certainly encapsulates the audience into a time and a place that they soon come to understand through the voyeuristic journey into the very personal lives of the families and forbidden relationships displayed so masterfully in this film.
Though the film concludes on a note of pure ambiguity, it can be forgiven in a greater sense because of the realistic messages this film is able to produce within the minds of the viewer and the often profound notion of ambiguity relating seamlessly with how life actually functions in an indefinite and unsure world.
A powerful and captivating film, 'The White Ribbon' is sure to reward those with patience and interest in realism and in depth character studies that may help to reveal just a little more about the motivations and psychologies of the people surrounding us.