The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band) (2009)
Critic Consensus: The White Ribbon effectively utilizes tension and a bleak atmosphere to deliver a thought-provoking examination of nascent fascism.
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as The Schoolteacher
as The Baron
as Marie-Louise, the Baroness
as The Tutor
as The Pastor
as Anna, the Pastor's Wife
as Emma, the Steward's Wife
as The Steward
as The Doctor
as The Farmer
as The Midwife
as The Narrator, The School Teacher
as Eva's father
as Eva's mother
as Criminal Police Officer
as Criminal Police Officer
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Critic Reviews for The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band)
As for Haneke's handling of the material, his directing is immaculate. Every moment is the product of a penetrating mind and a steady talent.
The White Ribbon is a stark, contemplative and hauntingly brilliant film.
Writer-director Michael Haneke doesn't pull any punches, but then he doesn't throw any wild ones, either. His filmmaking shows precisely the sort of obsession with control that the movie itself is denouncing. Interesting, you've got to admit.
Haneke tells this tale a bit too patiently for my taste. But the metaphors are unmistakable, as is the power of the film's message.
The White Ribbon lunges hungrily for serious art-film credibility. Don't be fooled.
Audience Reviews for The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band)
Michael Haneke has pushed the bounds of what is and could be considered going too far in the film medium, which is his whole mantra. He brings us The White Ribbon, something like if you took elements from The Crucible, Schindler's List, and Jesus Camp blended it together, and put it all in German with a drained out final image with a dash of fascism, unknown motives and religious fundamentalism. This extraordinarily stark and innovative film comments very boldly and brashly on "the origin of every type of terrorism, be it of political or religious nature." The acting is decidedly honest and quite life-like. The cinematography continues to add layers to the reality of the film and Haneke's direction couldn't be more appropriate to bring his screenplay to life. And the filmmaking style of this film is pure Haneke, utilizing long takes, tracking shots and manipulating the world in front of the camera to unsettle you and provoke thought, very few directors can achieve this multiple times, he achieved it with both renditions of his film Funny Games, and he most certainly did it here. Brava.
A nuanced, demanding film about small-town secrets that rivals the best stories of Alice Munro or William Faulkner, in which characters' lines are cutting, doom is just around the corner, and the individuals' respective stories continue to surprise as each reveals itself to be related to the others in larger frame, the life of a town (Eichwald) and the narrating school teacher. Great story, well told, and though it's lean (basically, one setting over one year, and a deservedly abrupt ending), there's a lot going on here, plot-wise and meaning-wise, with symbolism and metaphysical engagement to spare. Reminded me, too, of Hitchcock, in that the most horrific is the off-stage stuff, and for a reason that I hope is more than "because it's European and in black and white," Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal... and, though set in pre-WWI Germany, it's a story that has no trouble resonating today because of its (unfortunately) universal subject matter. A worthy Palme d'Or winner that moves slowly but stays captivating all the way. Definitely a film you should see.
The White Ribbon is a dark, depressing account of human nature and innate, or learned, violence. Eerily beautiful, but the meanings and metaphors are too subtle, vague, and complex. Perhaps a metaphor to human nature itself? Enigmatic.
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