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8,494 Ratings

The White Ribbon

Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte

Directed by Michael Haneke
Germany, Austria, 2009
Drama, Mystery, History


In a rural German village in 1913, brutal authority is enforced by the baron and the pastor. Malevolent occurrences involving the upper class gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual. A school teacher investigates and slowly discovers the incredible truth.

Our take

Tracing the genesis of a fascist ideology as it develops and swiftly proliferates in a small community, Michael Haneke’s riveting Palme d’Or winner is a prescient, perhaps timeless parable. A compelling drama, conveyed in stark black-and-white cinematography, co-written with Jean-Claude Carrière.

The White Ribbon Directed by Michael Haneke

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2009 | 3 wins including: Palme d'Or

2009 | Special Mention: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

Academy Awards

2010 | 2 nominations including: Best Achievement in Cinematography

No one’s idea of a cinematic cuddle-bunny, Haneke is as much strategist as filmmaker and more pedagogue than visionary. The White Ribbon is certainly the most beautiful movie he has made—a sort of triumphantly willed Meisterwerk. His use of narrative uncertainty, resembling those in the unsolved mystery at the heart of Caché, may be standard-issue, but there’s no denying The White Ribbon’s seriousness and unity.
December 29, 2009
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Part deconstructed mystery and part clinical observation, Haneke’s combination of crisp black and white and neutral framing insightfully reflects the spectrum of social division – wealth, age, gender, education, spirituality, moral conscience – that equally serve as historical précis for prewar Germany and contemporary allegory for religious extremism.
October 13, 2009
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It is in granting so much pain and power to a community, to a group of people—and especially the town’s children—seem and unseen alike that White Ribbon strikes as something new brought to the cinema screen, or, perhaps more accurately, something old reinvested with some of its old power.
May 22, 2009
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