Reviews of The White Ribbon
Displaying all 26 reviews
A dark portrait of life in a small Protestant village in rural Germany, Haneke describes his film as revealing ‘the origin of every type of terrorism, be it of political or religious nature’. Shot in Bergman-inspired black-and-white; also the aesthetic of Bresson (Balthazar/Country Priest-esque – albeit in Super 35!), the milieu of Tarr, and of course the grim morality and concealment of Haneke – a match not so facetious, nor one made in heaven, but in a quiet sort of hell. Anyway, the Austrian’s abilities as a provocateur, let alone a mere raconteur, soon take effect: insidiously, oh so slightly – a heck of a lot of finesse.
P.S. The film’s hidden subtitle – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (‘A German Children’s Story’) – therein clearly lies the telling implication.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
English Title: The White Ribbon
Original Title: Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte
Country: Germany, Austria, France, Italy
Language: German, Italian Polish
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Obviously it is not an effortless film to enjoy, Haneke’s HIDDEN (2005) is one of my favorite films of all time, in spite of that I admire his works, most of his films’ frosty characterizations, restrained accusations are rather uneasy to follow and swallow. So is the case of THE WHITE RIBBON (his Golden Palm winning film in 2009 Cannes), in a completely black-white mode, the film no doubt stands firmly among the best of his magnificent opus.
I found it extremely unsatisfying when the end-credits rolled over, there are tons of questions remain unsolved after 160 minutes while over 30 characters were introduced in the film, for sure Haneke doesn’t want to give us any definite explanations of the crimes happened, the whole film demonstrates a ubiquitous mental abuse among the German village at the time before WWI (especially towards children), which caused abnormality in their thoughts, the power of poisoned minds was so overwhelmingly dominant so that it would ignite the naissance of Nazi among the next generation while a detectable overthrow of religious paternity was under the way.
For me the ace of the film is the camera work by Christian Berger, darkness saturates in every corner of the village, leaves creepiness and shadows on almost every character. The pace is slow but not tedious, several fixed long takes are gripping. There are some excellent performance by Burghart Klaussner (the pastor) and Susanne Lothar (the midwife). Still, it is purely difficult to love this film other than admire it from some distance.
Maybe the hidden truth is not important, as every audience has his own version of comprehension, nonetheless, with such a thorough reticence, I think Haneke does underestimate the needs of his audience this time, connotation can be obscure, meanwhile, the film itself hides too many clues, which is able to catch a title as an individual auteur, but for the reverent Haneke, there is indeed no need to take great pains to do so both for him and his devoted groupies.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
el rigor del cine de haneke en su expresión más acabada. se entiende la renuencia de las distribuidoras en méxico para exhibirla. haneke usa la cámara como un carnicero su machete destazador. la experiencia es devastadora. no hay modo de escapar a la emoción que te arrastra por lo más bajo y termina por explotar los mitos más románticos de que se tenga memoria: la presunta bucólica vida de los campesinos y la pureza e ingenuidad de la infancia. el modo en el que relaciona esta narración con la historia es de un rigor que le sobreimpresiona una lectura que va más allá de la película, de un modo similar a como la “anécdota” de caché sufre su transfiguración cuando es sometida al examen de un hecho histórico que revela lo que estaba oculto. la película de haneke está “empacada” con un rigor que no deja lugar a espacios ni tiempos ajenos a los movimientos de un carnicero que sabe con precisión dónde asestar los golpes, dónde hacer los cortes. aunque hace falta la distancia del tiempo para poder juzgar con mayor “objetividad”, me viene difícil pensar en una película más importante para la primera década de este miserable siglo XXI.
pd. el título de la película tanto como su factura es de una perversión que golpea de modo implacable. haneke es imprescindible para pensar lo que somos y a dónde queremos ir, aun cuando se nos antoje un tanto lejano su discurso y sus preocupaciones. pero su filme es una especie de bomba atómica que no deja cabeza incólume sobre ningunos hombros, su potencia se verificó ante una audiencia mexicana que en la sala 1 de la cineteca nacional pasó de la risa fácil, a un espanto, una emoción desgarradora ante lo siniestro que plantea. cuando se encendieron las luces fue un alivio respirar al pensar que todo había concluido aunque al formular la pregunta ¿por qué esos acontecimientos son relevantes para comprender el desastre absoluto que fue el nazismo? y la respuesta está en la película pero exige una reflexión y una cuenta aritmética sencilla: ¿cuántos años tendrán los siniestros personajes de la película de haneke en 1933, año en el que el partido nacional socialista alemán asalta el poder en alemania? la respuesta produce un escalofrío más persistente que las estremecedoras imágenes del riguroso haneke
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Austrian auteur Michael Haneke takes a studied look at fear and intimidation as a build-up to his usual penetration of the psychology of violence, this time situating his action in a shimmering black and white country village in the year before the breakout of the first World War.
Where Haneke usually focuses on the consequences of inexplicably evil and unnecessary violence, here he studies the effects of rigid parental upbringing in a strictly Catholic community, and how the sins of the parents trickle down to even the youngest of victims.
The cast of characters includes no less than 20 major participants, and the first hour of the film takes a mighty effort just to straighten out who is who and who is in what family, but when that’s settled, and it becomes clear that the director is serving up an allegory (possibly all too clearly) for the seeds of fascism, and the following three decades, the final 80 minutes are essential.
This may be a grueling exercise in aesthetics, with a lack of action and a complicated roster of faces, but Haneke is a master of stringing the physical story along with the metaphorical symbolism of it, and though it’s bleak, it’s quite beautiful, and haunting.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
I gotta say, in the four years i’ve attended the new york film festival (inland empire, the wrestler, cache, etc) this is by far the most memorable movie i’ve seen so far. And i STILL have one more movie to see (Todd Solondz’s latest, so i’m sure i’ll be in for some dark comedy about pedophilia and dysfunctional suburban family life). This new film proves that Michael Haneke has become one of the very few directors to NOT make a “bad” film (…yet). In Michael Haneke’s latest film; “The White Ribbon”, he channels the spirit of classic german cinema (specifically; “Young Torless” and “Coup De Grace”…two movies you all should see if you havent) in both; subject matter and beautiful black & white cinematography. He gives a slight nod to the filmmaking style of Carl Theodore Dryer (a director i just recently got in to) as well as Tarkosfky. Haneke also revisits some of themes of one of his most recent films; “Cache”. ”The White Ribbon takes place in a small german town just before the start of WW1. The town starts to change after a series of mysterious and often gruesome (somewhat sadistic) events occur one after another. By the end of the movie, two of the townspeople start to put the pieces together as to who’s responsible. Through out the movie until its chilling end, you start to slowly see the seeds of violence within youth grow, and how they were planted. Seeing that the youth in this movie are of a particular age, set in a particular time period (early 1900’s), this film is also a look at the growth of fascism and the how those seeds were planted as well. One major hint are the white ribbons two of the children are forced to wear around their arm at the order of their father. Do the white ribbons foreshadow the swastika armbands that nazi soldiers will be wearing in the future? And similar to “Cache”, Haneke hints and lightly pokes at major events that make you wanna dig further. For example, one could look at “Cache” as a movie about “white guilt” and race issues in society. In the film he just casually mentions the algerian massacre, which serves as an important backstory for the 2 main characters in the film (also, is it any coincidence that the random person the main character gets in to an argument with outside the police station is a dark skinned african? for those of you who havent seen “Cache”, and don’t know what im talking about…make it a priority to see it). “The White Ribbon” now has me quite interested in the birth of fascism, and germany’s history leading up to WW1 (i was on google & wikipedia after i got home from watching the movie, lol). This is easily one of the 3 best movies of the year so far, and puts Haneke up there with all the “masters of cinema” (in my opinion).
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
With crisp, stunningly clear high-key B&W photography, “The White Ribbon” finds a world coated in pristine purity, masking a festering ritual of abuse and punishment within. The adults are the discipliners – most harsh, unforgiving, strict and practiced by religious fundamentalism. Their children, as a natural result, retain and relive the cruel behavior of their elders in an increasing cascade of repression and fear. All of them, however, are rigid products of hierarchical control and self-fulfilling malice, each one’s placement within the grander sociological scale of the town making them complicit perpetrators in its broiling cage of rancor. When the pastor makes his children wear white ribbons to remind them of the innocence they are to strive for, we are reminded of the alarmingly simple ways dangerous thoughts can be bred in an environment averse to freedom.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Michael Haneke é um daqueles realizadores que até há bem pouco tempo passou-me despercebido. Não sei bem qual a razão desta ignorância, já que penso ter um bom conhecimento sobre os filmes que têm marcado a contemporaneidade. Mas isto só me faz perceber que neste mundo do cinema são muitos aqueles que existem e se caracterizam pela qualidade dos seus filmes e, por vezes, passam no desconhecido dos aficionados. Este foi o meu caso…. Não posso especificar quando foi realmente a primeira vez que surgiu dentro de mim a necessidade e curiosidade de visionar as obras cinematográficas deste realizador, bem como querer ver através da tela a forma como ele observa o mundo. Mas quem é realmente este senhor….
Nasceu no ano de 1943 na Alemanha e os seus filmes caracterizam-se principalmente por falhanços e problemas na sociedade moderna. Segundo um artigo na Wikipédia:
Haneke was born in Munich, Germany, the son of the German actor and directorFritz Haneke and the Austrian actress Beatrix von Degenschild. Haneke was raised in the city Wiener Neustadt. He attended the University of Vienna to studyphilosophy, psychology and drama after failing to achieve success in his early attempts in acting and music. After graduating, he became a film critic and from 1967 to 1970 he worked as editor and dramaturg at the southwestern German television station Südwestfunk. He made his debut as a television director in 1974.
O primeiro filme que escolhi da já extensa filmografia que o realizador possui foi The White Robbin com titulo original Das Weisse Band. O filme passa-se numa aldeia que vive o tormento do início da primeira guerra mundial. Tudo corria bem, até que misteriosos acontecimentos começam a mudar a rotina diária dos cidadãos e é então que percebemos que muitas vezes as aparências enganam e crianças com cara de “anjos” podem ser uns “monstros” traumatizados pelos actos de boa educação que os seus pais pensam que lhe estão a oferecer. O que nos é mostrado neste filme é como a educação severa e aparências comunitárias muitas vezes podem esconder problemas que são ignorados e todos aqueles que sabem, simplesmente os ignoram. É um reflexo da sociedade moderna em que vivemos, que não se importa com o que de mal acontece com o próximo, desde que não lhe afecte a ele, está tudo bem. Ma o filme é mais do isso, é um movimento fixo de realidades que atinge todas as sociedades por esse mundo fora, onde existem as pessoas que guiam os ignorantes que não tendo confiança nas suas próprias faculdades e capacidades, deixam que crenças incertas os levem para caminhos que ainda desconhecem mais. O espectador, neste filme, é levado num fluxo narrativo que culmina num desenlace imperceptível, mas explícito. Porque de forma implícita o espectador percebe que os responsáveis dos actos violentos que assolaram a aldeia, são as pessoas menos óbvias, contudo os guias do povo são aqueles que querem ignorar os responsáveis e para isso escondem a pureza na gaveta ameaçando quem pense o contrário.
É numa técnica cinematográfica com recurso ao preto e branco que Haneke consegue neste filme construir uma realidade que atormentou e atormenta o mundo em que vivemos. O realizador conseguiu um trabalho sublime nesta obra que expressa uma época que transformou o mundo e o mudou para sempre. Quis focar tanto a atenção do espectador nas imagens, porque são elas o lado visível da realidade que é construída, que não recorreu ao uso de uma banda sonora. Então, os sons que ouvimos são aqueles que realmente merecem serem ouvidos, os sons da realidade que é esta e mais nenhuma.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
A few things about this film that I found impressive and/or remarkable:
How you can already tell which children are going to become card-carrying Nazis in twenty years. And with what degree of loyalty. And which won’t even make it that far (I’m looking at you, Sigi).
How Haneke manages to make a historically specific film without devolving into period fetishization. I originally assumed that filming in black and white was a symptom of the latter (or could even produce the latter as a symptom), but amazingly, it served to achieve the opposite effect. The stark cinematography denies any real attempt to interrogate the “accuracy” of period detail, since it is already inaccurate and obviously not concerned with capturing the verisimilitude of “what life was like back then.” The bare hints of historical tensions and geographical detail create some really nice friction with the aesthetic remove.
Morally ambiguous children! Haneke handles this so well, everywhere. There were a few moments when i thought he was going to delve into kitsch territory for sure (e.g. the scene where Anna explains death to her little brother, the discovery of the brutalized retarded child), but they never managed to achieve that odious “magical” quality. Instead, there were a lot of scenes that effectively demonstrated how children can destroy our critical capacities, but at the same time, some glimpses of how they might actually increase them, given the proper chance.
How the film drew on my pre-existing desire for the possibility of violence as a self-contained gesture, while demonstrating exactly why it isn’t a possibility and why it can be so dangerous to think so.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
(Friday / February 26, 2010 / 12:35am)
Chilling, disturbing, and ravishing can describe this magnificent picture from a great director, Michael Haneke. Haneke’s “The White Ribbon”, set in Germany 1913, follows the story of an assemblage village full of deceit, lies, and malice. Each scenes are unique and precisely done with masterful skills that only Haneke possesses. The film explains death intelligible, demonstrates the power of a man with no apprehensive about, and identifies the reality of indisputable proposition. Berger’s cinematography captures the immense environment with the competent excellence in performance. Black and white film can never be richer than “The White Ribbon.” This is Haneke’s greatest piece of work, crafted with such sharpness and distress sensation like no other. Ausgezeichnet!
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Dour study on the causal relationships and ripple effects of violence (familial, institutional and political) within a microcosmic German village.
Crisply photographed, but dimly lit with minimal artificial lighting, this is a technically accomplished work, although its point (violence begat violence) could have been made with greater brevity.
In essence society is responsible for its violent ills and the church is no answer for it, perhaps more the cause (or incubator).
Nevertheless the film insidiously creeps under your skin and Haneke is a master of still observation.
After the curious sideways misstep of re-filming his 1997 film Funny Games in English, writer/director Michael Haneke moves to an entirely different setting altogether with The White Ribbon and it may prove to be his crowning glory. The familiar Haneke concerns are present, the struggle of the internal and the impact of the external, and that strange grey country where they meet is where he fixes his gaze. His visual stylistic tropes are given full expression, the lingering long shot where we know the sense of what’s unfolding we just don’t get to see it in intimate detail, so we fill in the space ourselves. Shots that conceal more than they reveal but force us to think actively about what’s missing rather than passively accept what’s shown.
The White Ribbon is set in a tiny Northern Protestant village in Germany, just prior to the First World War. Haneke starts his tale by admitting what he tells may not all be true, a way of saying that no one person is privy to all the facts, add to that the level of innuendo and gossip that’s part of small town life and we arrive at a frustratingly inconclusive and unresolved place. Haneke seems to revel in the not knowing, and he is not afraid to take us along for the ride, and an unsettling and bumpy ride it is, to paraphrase Christopher Koch, life in a German village in the early part of the 20th century carried with it a fine pitch of dread.
The story is narrated by an old man, remembering the village where he was a schoolteacher. From the outset we are in the hands of an old man’s memories.
The first portentous event he relates is the horse riding accident that befalls the Doctor. A pillar of the establishment is bought down by an anarchist’s wire.
A sawmill accident soon sees a farmer’s wife killed, with the family looking for someone to blame. The sons fix on the Steward who runs the Baron’s property, but the Farmer feels helpless to act as it would jeopardise their already meagre income. These are almost feudal times and the Baron is untouchable. Such is the price of serfdom. Soon the Baron’s son is abused by unknown assailants and suspicion and innuendo run rife.
Amidst this penumbra of malice we have the one ray of hope in the love the teacher (Christian Friedel) finds with Eva,(Leonie Benesch) nanny to the Baron’s children.
It plays a sweet and understated counterpoint to the nascent violence that permeates the heart of the film. Events unfold in telling vignette’s, a boy learns what death means and realises his mother is not coming back from ‘holiday’ after all, or a canary is killed by a pair of scissors and laid on the Pastor’s desk. Life is spare and difficult, and only money offers an escape route out of the oppressive malevolence, and the Baroness eventually takes it, taking her son Sigi, who bloomed on holiday under the support of her Italian suitor, with her. The teacher pursues his chaste fiancée, who was sacked capriciously by the Baron, and he dreams of going into his father’s tailoring business. The Midwife realises there’s no place for her or her son in the Doctor’s (her lover) affections and goes off to tell the police what she knows of her son’s ordeal. She vanishes as does the Doctor and his children. War is declared and everything is about to change. Loose ends everywhere.
Part of the controversy around this film is the statement early in the narration that this story would, more or less, help explain the future events in Germany. I doubt Haneke felt he was outlining reasons for the rise of National Socialism, but what he delivers, if you will, is fascism in microcosm. There are certainly clues about the fertile ground the culture provided for subsequent events. The village children behave as a pack or mob, and the teacher’s suspicions for some of the nasty events settles on them. They look uniform and are taught the value of control and rules. Certainly difference, in the form of Sigi, the Baron’s long haired son and Karli, the retarded son of the midwife, is punished. When the teacher (the one good man) raises the possibility of the children’s culpability with the Pastor (the institutional status quo), he is threatened with public denunciation. The Pastor is mostly found lecturing the children on the virtues of order, to guard against chaos, particularly that from within.
The White Ribbon of the title is a symbol of purity, tied to the children after various indicretions, reminding them that purity is to be cherished and striven for. Another symbol of institutional strength, the Doctor is seen to be corrupt and venal, succumbing to temptation and a life of hypocrisy. Haneke is once again putting seemingly decent, upright people under pressure from outside forces to test their moral mettle. A pet theme of his seems to be that rules and ritual can be a bulwark against rips in the social fabric to some extent, but when those threats come from within, from the nature of man, they are useless. Pointedly, Haneke lingers over all the wording of the Lord’s Prayer, reminding us of the wish to be ‘delivered from evil’. How are we to be delivered from the evil within?
Western culture is primed to think in terms of messiah/saviour paradigms, be it a middle ages Knight or a gunslinger in the old west. Witness the recent events in the US and the fervour that greeted Obama’s election. No less a personage than the noted political analyst Beyonce breathlessly declared ‘He’s the one’. Unfortunately for the Germans their Dark Messiah arrived in time to exploit the national neuroses over post WW1 trauma’s, tying a different kind of ribbon to their arms whilst spouting purity of a racial kind, and led them not to the Aryan promised land.
Haneke films his tale in luminous black and white, and Christian Berger’s stunning cinematography is both austere and elegant, the feeling evoked is one of timelessness. The performances are uniformly excellent, the children in particular strong and convincing and worthy of a cinematic tradition stretching back beyond Truffaut’s ‘400 Blows’ to Clement’s ‘Forbidden Games’. I think in time this film will take it’s place in the canon, worthy of Bresson or Bergman, who’s Winter Light is surely referenced in the scene where the Doctor tells the midwife what he really thinks of her. A lingering and haunting film in all ways.
A year in the life of a rural German village before the outbreak of The Great War sees a series of unpleasant and unexplained incidents occur. My initial reaction to The White Ribbon confounded my expectations in just the way Michael Haneke had surely hoped. No explicit sense of chilling horror or inciting dramatic tension, but instead a deeply troubling and uncomfortable feeling of unease. If this is Mr Haneke’s fictionalised reasoning for the rise of fascism in Europe then it’s a convincing argument. The strict religious morality of the village contrast sharply with the sudden abhorrent acts of evil, but the latter inhabits and nurtures the former like an internal rot. Haneke offers no simple resolution to mankind’s lurking malice (despite wagging his finger fairly sternly at religion and social hierarchies), but captures the bleak inevitability of it all in stunning black and white.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
THE WHITE RIBBON is great because it marks the contrast between art and entertainment, the way ansel adams is to terry richardson, renoir to warhol, and by doing so proves that there is a true, literary, powerful artistic force working in the movies who hadn’t found the story to exercise the full extent of his talents until now. Finally, people can quit bitching about filmmakers not making them like they used to- they can make them BETTER!
Way to end the decade Michael Haneke. You made a self-contained world so dense with mystery, love, innocence, villainy, spirituality, and history that it serves not only as a masterwork that crosses all art forms but a reminder that films have the power to enlighten, move, and CHALLENGE instead of simply rot our brains away. The best compliment I can give this movie is that it was made with such skill I felt bad for not taking in more books, art, music, culture since it seems only a complete renaissance man can make a fine picture like this one.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Inevitably, this movie is somehow split into its two levels. We have the basic narrative, which is a mysterious murder series in a village and we have the intelectual level where the director is trying to tell us something about violence and fascism. Even if some critics play down the role of the coming World Wars and stress the general importance of the structure of violence that Haneke is trying to show, I found the links to the Third Reich were pretty obvious. We have the authoritarian education, we have the women’s role as child-bearers, we have violence against disabled people, we have a white ribbon which is placed where twenty-five years later there’ll be placed a Swastika with many people. Of course the movie is at the same time conveying something more general as well, but the link to Hitler’s Germany was always there for me. The kids that we see will be the adults in the Third Reich and they will be used to a strong man that tells them what to do.
In an even more general sense, I think Haneke is trying to emphasize that violence is wherever there is someone’s power over another person. The village is a highly disciplined microcosmos and you cannot have discipline without opression and as a consequence you cannot have a perfectly disciplined community without violence. What the film shows with the example of a village can easily be transported to society as a whole. The so-called disciplinary society is never going to work without a certain amount of violence, because our society is structured by hierarchical power-over relations.
The films “lack of emotion” is therefore a normal consequence of the point the director is trying to make. I really found the “intelectual” level to be very specific and interesting, the only problem is that you cannot follow the basic narrative without steadily thinking of what Haneke is trying to tell us. I wasn’t able to see the characters as human beings, but always as certain roles that Haneke uses to make his point. And even if I think his point is important and he succeeds in making it, he’s lacking the first level. From the beginning, we know that it is not really important who committed the murders, it’s all about structural violence. I was gaining interest in the film as a study about violence but never got interested in the actual story. To what extent this is a serious problem, each person has to decide for himself. I still think of the film as a rich and worth-while experience.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Here are a few paragraphs on my immediate impressions of the film. By no means do I incorporate everything that can be said as it has great depth and substance. I simply want to highlight the overarching themes that I felt were important. My views are pointless in isolation, I openly welcome anyone who has seen the film to complete the dialogue: fill in any gaps, strengthen some of my flimsily thrown out ideas or to tear it to pieces, completely disagreeing with what I write.
I always thought I was dead against voice overs; that they are a lazy way of storytelling, spoon feeding you the narrative rather than letting the film speak for itself. Well this film made me realise that I am only dead against anonymous, omnipresent voiceovers. The one in this film is so personal and direct as it comes from one of the only sympathetic characters in the whole film. It is one of the tools used to reinforce the fact that the story is being told from an objective point of view. Another element supporting this is that right from the very beginning – through said voice over narration – it is declared that memories are funny things. A brilliant way of making it explicit early on that this is an objective point of view, a story but one which it declares will “hopefully explain what happened to this country”. This gives you the bigger picture from the start. You are instructed – in a non-forceful way – to see this village as a microcosm representing the whole country; that the young characters represent the youth of the nation. The film takes us to the start of the First World War, but more importantly – as the film critic Mark Kermode rightly points out – it is the children here who will reach adulthood during – and therefore be mostly responsible for – the rise of the third Reich.
Terrifying Kids (especially Klara – who is one eerie but immensely powerful and articulate figure)
The youth are completely fed up with the treatment they receive from the older generations. The film shows a variety of family/community settings and how the children are undervalued, unappreciated, sexually abused or repressed to a point of insanity. And my goodness are they plentiful; there are numerous shots families where the children swamp the screen, vastly outnumbering their elders, which really puts an exclamation mark on the fact that the old generation (along with all their values) are going to be viciously overthrown. The only middle ground / glimmer of hope is the relationship between the teacher and Eva. These are very important characters that differ from almost everyone else in the village, mainly that they both seem to have healthy relationships with their parents. Eva’s dad embarrasses her but at least he speaks plainly, doesn’t repress what he feels and expresses his disdain for ridiculous formality. More importantly is that both their parents do not live with them within this damned village (a representation of the whole nation – see below) and they are not products of the society within. This is possibly most important when he attempts to explain the situation as he sees it to the Pastor, who is so enmeshed with a culture of repression that he casts the teacher out. The teacher was so alien to this culture he could not even grasp why this was, anticipate that this would be the outcome of this conversation or even recognise that this repression existed, therefore he let it go on. This could be a comment on those who were not enthusiastically pro-Nazi but just did not do enough to stop them.
Whether the film justifies this youth-led rebellion is left for the viewer to decide. It shows their reasons for it, i.e. the captivity they were being held in; a captivity that is clearly symbolised by the Pastor’s caged bird. The fact that Klara kills the bird and leaves it as a symbol for her father to find shows the youths intention to fight this incarceration. To further accentuate the injustice of his contradictions, the Pastor keeps in that cage, the healed bird; the bird he told his son he must release back into the wild.
I really could go on, but it really would be… well ‘going on’. I have tried to make this concise and focused and in case I didn’t make the point clearly I think it is a tremendous film.
Just some toughts on the latest Palme d’ Or
and my dearest Austrian Psycho.
I don’t usually agree with or like the films that win the Palme d’ or, at least for the past 10 years, i’ve always loved the selection but never the winners. I just watch them eagerly after the whole buzz and find myself completely lost in determining why in hell they’ve won cannes top prize (Farenheit, 4months2weeks1abortion, etc) I still do.
So when this year’s Palme d’or was announced i couldn’t help myself in feeling overly sceptical, considering that i, on a modest side, have been waiting for Haneke’s latest since little was known of the project, someting about a rural school, Ulrich Muhe and little nazis.(dangerous enough)
To my surprise, Haneke has made what we can call already a masterpiece, at least his masterpiece, closing a beautiful nonetheles disturbing circle with The Seventh Continent, aside of a few misteps, Funny Games (both) and The Piano Teacher, but is this Haneke, Der Siebente Kontinent’s Haneke who made Das Weisse Band, a film that surprisingly ends up being less closed or self-conscious than most of his previous work, the subtexts handled with the most suitable care and ambiguity. Certainly one of his less “cold sadist” films (explicitly speaking) when it clearly could have been his most.
A top prize well deserved for the first time in many years,
I can asure you this is the same palm awarded to Bunuel’s Viridiana.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Question after question… It’s a bit slow and it doesn’t give you big bones to chew on, you have to make a great effort to find the little ones hiden in some dark places and that’s why i liked the atmosphere. I didn’t find a lot of answers. Usually I don’t get bottered with this if the movie is made to rase confusion, but here the flow of the movie was a bit stiff and that’s why I’m still disturbed and focused at the straight happening. I guess I have to repeat the excercise once or twice in the near future to catch the whole feeling of the movie.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
At first it really didn’t make big impression, but then, like hours after watching (and still today, more a day later) movie doesn’t leave you alone, it’s making you think about it. And about the ending, and about the “black education” and about acting and scene (which by the way is perfect, and you won’t have a feeling that film was done this year and not decades ago) and actors and characters…
Like in Haneke’s nature, film leaves more questions asked than answered. You will absorb it deeply and it won’t leave your mind so fast, it will force you to think about it, which makes it a masterpiece.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
I really like the films of haneke but i am somehow fed up with his demonstration of people being either actively or passively violent, sardistic or what so ever against others. The film is exellently shot, some scenes are great, the beginnin is wonderful, however, there is no surprise at all, everything so purely, too purely constructed. I wonder why I liked the scene most which was so far from being Haneke: detlev bucks performance as eva’s father. Is the story really so important for further generations as mentioned in the beginning of the film?? Or is it just another sardistic Haneke film….would really like to see a refreshing change of hanekes methodology of making films and telling stories…
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
Another thought-provoking film by Haneke. And here again, you can expect all his usual trademarks: acutely observed characters, revelatory mise-en-scenes, a mounting sense of foreboding and no easy answers. In other words, a post-modern thriller. What he hones in on here more than ever before, is in creating a minutely drawn sense of place. And the result is overwhelming.
As for how to interpret the film, it may not be as simple as tracing the slippery slope from Protestant puritanism to fascism. The happenings in the small town pre-WWI are but a window into the collective psychology of a repressed people.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
I’ve seen this film at the London Film Festival. In comparison to the last year’s winner of the Palme D’Or, the anaemic 4 Days 3 Weeks & 2 days, I really hoped to see a “proper” film this time. I was pleased.
The black & white cinematography is rewarding while the chilling acting is contributing to the unsettling atmosphere. The title White Ribbon is subtitled in German (but left untranslated on purpose) as “A German Children’s Story” setting a parable about future generations – forthcoming members of the nazi party, educated as kids in the spirit of strict protestant fundamentalism.
I think of this as a very good movie but not a life-changing masterpiece. Compared to the other competitors at the Cannes Festival, it was definitely the most complete work. It is imperative to have a screen viewing experience rather than a TV or computer screen so if you want to see this, I would go to the cinema and witness the beauty of the scenery.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Sem dúvida, um dos filmes que deve ser visto e revisto… o diretor conduz o espectador a um mundo cruel. Abusando (e muito bem) do recurso em “branco em preto” desnuda as características da sociedade do vilarejo (só a do vilarejo?), de fato não há grandes mistérios, o que nos prende e fascina é a tentativa de entender o que move a ação dos personagens, lidar com valores, credos, preconceitos…
Enfim, vale a pena assistir.
Ah! natureza humana, tão selvagem que nomeclarura civilização maqueia nosso real instinto humano.
Só assistir , não só uma vez, mas, mais mais vezes ao filme, me parece tão pouco pra poder refletir sobre a Fita Branca.
`… sofro ao assistir esses tipos de “fita”, mas será que sou masoquista, por sempre me sentir atraído por histórias semelhantes?…"
De qualquer forma, é filme de ser ver mais de uma vez.
Eu ainda preciso refletir muito sobre o novo filme de Michael Haneke – e quero revê-lo o mais rapidamente possível, mas A Fita Branca me provocou sentimentos que me levam a acreditar que ele estará na minha lista de melhores filmes do ano. O longa mostra um Haneke num molde mais clássico, mas sem abandonar o universo que lhe é mais caro, o da capacidade do homem de ser cruel. Muitas vezes, suas aventuras por este terreno me pareceram gratuitas, forçadas, pouco naturais, mas neste novo filme os fatos parecem ser extensões do comportamento dos personagens.
Haneke adota um modelo retrô: fez um filme num preto-e-branco belíssimo (o branco é quase glacial) e assume um narrador – num voice over que se justificava como há muito tempo não acontecia num filme. Titubeante, o narrador alerta no começo do filme sobre sua falta de ceretezas sobre o que é ou não verdade no que vai contar para o espectador. A Fita Branca começa assim, duvidando de si mesma. Haneke usa sua habilidade para gerenciar climas e tensões, construindo o filme como um thriller de terror psicológico, que tanto reflete o clima do pré-guerra quanto serve como um olhar sobre o comportamento humano.
O diretor foi felicíssimo na escolha do elenco, sobretudo as crianças, quase todas excelentes. Há uma cena de violência psicológica magistral, quando o pai pastor confronta o filho, os dois soberbos. Mas vamos parando por aqui. Preciso rever este filme logo.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Hailed by the TIFF moderator as Michael Haneke’s masterpiece, I found myself expecting something very specific from Das weiße Band [The White Ribbon]. Thinking about the uncomfortable feeling he leaves the audience with during both Funny Games and Caché, I readied myself for a dark and disturbing look into an Austrian town before the First World War. The film is just under two and half hours long, somber in its execution and quietly powerful in its subject matter. At every second I kept waiting for the big reveal, the climactic moment to turn things around and be a game-changer—that’s Haneke’s M.O. right? But that doesn’t happen here, the story’s tone stays consistent with a subtle oppressive feeling lingering just below the surface. You feel that something is just not right, but can’t quite put a finger on it.
Admittedly, I was underwhelmed at its conclusion. I knew it was something great, especially in construction and visual prowess, yet I couldn’t shake that feeling of clouded mediocrity. And then, after talking about it with my friend for an hour or two afterwards, it hit me. Haneke has intentionally filled our minds with detail upon detail, setting up conspiracies and unsolved mysterious, leading us to believe things only to plant clues that refute them. Looking back, I found that each second stuck in my head; I couldn’t shake even the minutest detail because it might hold the key to solving this puzzle. Deaths, tragedies, and accidents are happening every day, possibly connected, but how? Our narrator, the town’s schoolteacher played by Christian Friedel, is relaying the events that occurred before being sent off to fight once the Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated. He believes the strange attitude and mysterious activities all began with a freak accident of the doctor. Riding his horse back home, he is thrown off when its legs trip on a wire spanning two trees, causing a lengthy hospital stay to recover. Next come a death, a kidnapping, and a beating, all unsolved despite hunches and hypotheses going through the town. Something is in the air, but what it is and what will come of it is unknown.
The children are the key to everything. They are the easiest to blame, as it seems they are always there by the tragedies. Definitely hiding something, the kids begin to stare authority in the eye and practice what has been preached. Haneke mentions in an interview attached to the press notes that he wanted to show the sort of “black” education going on at the time, breeding Fascism and terror. Good and evil fall to strict black and white, every action has a reaction, a punishment to set things right. The children are of an age that they are beginning to understand that life is not eternal, there are consequences in their actions and the adults are not afraid to tell them so. When you don’t follow the rules, you will be caned, (a brilliant scene showing the young siblings enter the room, but allowing the audience to only see the closed door during the abuse), and you will have to wear the white ribbon in order to show the world your transgressions and need to earn back the right to be free, (the precursor to the Jewish stars perhaps?).
What about the adults? What about those practicing adultery, or abuse of power, or destruction of property, or sexual abuse with a child? Who has the right to punish them? When, after the second kidnapping and beating of a young boy, a note is found stating intentions, that the children of transgressors will be discipline for four to five generations, you start to see the severity of the actions—as well as allusions to the Holocaust and the mass genocide of an entire people, rooting out the “evils” of the world by excising the entire population, killing the bloodline at the source. But it can’t be the children, right? They are too young and innocent, unknowing of the world set before them. Yet with the upbringing in this town, treated as adults with responsibilities and accountability, anyone would grow up fast. Cause a raucous in class and be chastised; be the leader and stand in the corner. Forgiveness is a liability. When the oldest girl, and leader of the wolves if you believe the children are the monsters, Klara, (wonderfully portrayed by Maria-Victoria Dargus), is ready to accept Communion, her own father, the pastor, (a menacing man of authority realized by Burghart Klaußner), pauses, contemplating whether she deserves it. You know he doesn’t want to give in, family bond means nothing.
Haneke has woven a tapestry of intrigue that will keep you on edge throughout. The anticipation of a solution is palpable, and the fact it is never released makes this film so riveting and unforgettable. The payoff is that these children will grow up into the generation that becomes the Nazi party, making this sleepy rural town a breeding ground for young Fascists that will change the world. Retribution is being taught, atoning for ones sins practiced. World War II is after all an answer to the punishment inflicted on Germany after the first, isn’t it? It’s a cycle of getting back, proving one’s pride, and seeking revenge upon the children of the enemy if the enemy itself is unavailable. God’s will has to be upheld and that intrinsic fact is ingrained in the minds of the youth. When Martin, an effective Leonard Proxauf, is discovered walking along the railing of a high bridge, he responds to the yelling of the man that finds him with the line used to title this review. If what he was doing was wrong—we can only infer on his role in the incidents occurring around him—then God would have let him fall, paying for his sins. But the fact that he gets to the other side unscathed only proves his work is that of the creator of man. Haneke says he had another name for the film, God’s Right Hand, and I think it would have been just as appropriate a title. A powerful film, sharing so much information without any answers; it takes our mind into overdrive, trying so hard to find a reason for it all. But sometimes there are none; sometimes bad things just happen. You can only speculate and hope to prevent them from ever happening again.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Michael Haneke explained that he first wrote The White Ribbon as a book almost ten years ago. Financiers weren’t eager to produce the film, so he waited for the opportune moment. He told the audience that his choice to shoot the film in black and white was to get the look of old photographs and used narration to put some distance between the film and the audience. The movie is as close to a novel as can be though, with the careful introductions of each character.
Haneke explains his reasoning behind this film: to show how children are the lowest in society’s hierarchy, but they also our future. Some children seem like they’re destined to be S.S. Officers, while Haneke insists that most of the youngsters are actually well-behaved…
Read more: http://cinemabecomesher.blogspot.com/2009/09/das-weie-band-white-ribbon-q-2009_03.html
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.