Saturday, July 3, 2010

The White Ribbon

Michael Haneke, Germany, 2009 (8.4*)
aka Da Weisse Band
Palm D'Or, Cannes

In a small German village in 1910, a series of bizare sadistic acts begins with a doctor on his horse being thrown by a nearly invisible wire strung across his daily path, resulting in his hospitalization and the horse's destruction. While is recuperates in a nearby town, more incidents occur.

The local preacher, eerily portrayed by Burghart Klaussner, is shown to cane his six children when they are late for dinner, while other parents react similarly when their children disobey, one even attacking his son with a military sword. Meanwhile, the local teacher, played by Christian Friedel, begins to investigate the incidents on his own, suspecting that some of his students may be to blame as many children in the village seem to have the mean streak of bullies, and they congregate in gang-like groups, often acting suspicious.

Micheal Haneke has given us a mystery in classic bw that seems to imply a growing inclination towards fascism in the grassroots areas of Germany which may have resulted in full-blown Naziism as these kids grew up - they would all be young adults in the 20's and 30's. This film won't suit all tastes, but is rewarding for those willing to be patient and examine complex human motivations through cinematic art.

This understated film has won 17 international awards so far, including the Palm D'or at Cannes, a Golden Globe for foreign film, and garnered an Oscar® nomination for foreign film, and is nominated for 13 German film awards, yet to be presented.
The awards page at IMDB

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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