Monday, February 8, 2010

Who put that wire there?. A review of "The White Ribbon"

The White Ribbon.

Writer and Director: Michael Haneke

** and 1/2 *'s out of four.

Michael Haneke has been making movies that are not easily explained ever since the release of "Benny's Video" He has been continuing his tradition with such gems as "Cache" "The Piano Teacher" and my personal favorite "Funny Games"(U.S.Version). Now he is back with the movie that has won the prestigious Palme D'or at the Cannes film festival and it is being nominated for best foreign language movie at this year's Academy Awards.

"The White Ribbon" is focused on a small German community before the start of World War I. This a a very religious moral society where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. When a wire is found tied between two trees that caused an accident. It sets fourth a chain of events that are more drastic than the next including the death of one woman, and the brutal physical abuse of two young boys. The most bizarre things about these incidents is that most of the town's children are usually seen either right before or soon after each accident.These tales are being narrated by the town's school teacher(Christian Friedel) who has falling in love with The Baron's young nanny Eva(Leonie Benesch). The children in this tale have very strict parents. The Pastor and his wife(Burghart Klaußner, Steffi Kühnert) even go as far as to tie their son Martin( Leonard Proxauf) to his bed as a form of punishment. There is also resentment from some of the children of workers at The Baron's estate. Are these negelections and abuse the cause of much of this town's strange occurrence. That is the question going on in this very complex tale of a society whole moral fabric does not mesh with the teaching fabric it instills.

Shot in beautiful black and white which is a good thing to still see in movies even with the onslaught of 3D special effect movies overcrowding the cineplex of the last year. "The White Ribbon" looks very much like an old nineteenth century photograph that has been brought to life. The performances by a lot of the actors are very well portrayed including the ones by the young cast. The only real problem in this movie is that there are too many other subplots going on around the main story line and that none of them are solved just merely hinted at. I'm not sure if this was an intentional decision at the mind of the director, but as an audience member I found it to be very confusion. Some have said that the teachings in this town to the youth have helped formed the fascist society in later years. There are certainly elements that support that theory,but there are also theories that would suggest the children in this town are just reacting to the weak. The way their parents afflict abuse on their weak.

One of my friend's after viewing this called "The White Ribbon" a German version of "The Children Of The Corn". Both stories appear to have the same theme of kids going bad and commiting henious acts of violence. However the kids in Haneke's tale were taught this behavior by their parents who had it taught to them through their religous upbringing.

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