Das weisse Band

Das weisse Band

eine deutsche Kindergeschichte = The white ribbon

DVD - 2010 | German
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In a north German village prior to the outbreak of World War I, strange events, accidents, and deaths are occurring. The village people are beside themselves with worry and can't figure out what to do. After the school teacher starts to unravel the mystery, he discovers that the children of the town may be guilty of the crimes and have formed a secret society that the local pastor's daughter appears to be the leader of.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2010]
Branch Call Number: GER 791.4372 W4321h
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (144 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: White ribbon [videorecording]


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*Germany* German Film Award for Best Feature Film 2010

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Aug 11, 2017

The White Ribbon is a stark, contemplative and hauntingly brilliant film.

Dec 27, 2014

The story takes place in a small insular community somewhere in Austria, circa 1916. You immediately get the impression that the village of Eichwald is controlled by more than one iron fist; the baronial landowner makes it clear to everyone that he is in charge while the dour preacher keeps them in their proper place. Crushed between the oppressive forces of Authoritarianism and Religion, the children of Eichwald are kept in a constant state of fear and confusion; some are subjected to physical and sexual abuse, while others are simply humiliated. The pastor even forces his children to wear white ribbons to accentuate their sinfulness and need for purity; but violence begets violence, and children learn from their parents. After an incident of sabotage aimed at the local doctor, a few children go missing only to turn up horribly beaten and unable to name their assailants. An aura of suspicion descends upon the village and impassioned accusations, akin to a witch hunt, begin to fly but to no avail. As the tension in Eichwald becomes unbearable the first reports of impending WWI begin to appear. Shot in austere B&W Haneke uses an isolated community as an analogy for a world poised on the brink of war. From the harsh dictates of God and King to the suffering of the innocents, Eichwald is rife with tyrannies and rebellion. Even the white armbands, meant to instill goodness and discipline, become a rallying symbol of quite another sort. The baroness rightfully sums up the place as being full of “malice, envy, brutality and apathy” as she packs up her privileged children and flees to Italy. Usually the master of the twisted enigma, this is perhaps Haneke’s most accessible film to date yet he does not sacrifice substance for the sake of coherence. Cruel, ruthless and chilling to the bone.

xaipe Mar 07, 2013

This is not a movie for fans of modern American films with fast-paced dialogue, special effects, car chases and pat, reassuring resolutions to problems. It’s a whodunit without a who and a whydunnit without an answer. The viewer never learns who or why the person or persons are doing the sudden maliciously spiteful acts that occur, but that’s not the point of Haneke’s film. The setting is a remote, rural, outwardly calm village in 1913 Germany. Gradually, the dysfunctional and deeply repressive nature of the town is revealed. The black and white film, direction, and camerawork is strongly reminiscent of German films of that era. We see a similar style in some of Werner Herzog’s early films. The movie is narrated in retrospect in a voiceover by the local teacher who is now an old man. He remarks that these painful events “could perhaps clarify some of the things that happened in this country” which suggests that this may be a parable of what led up to the nazification of Germany. The teacher’s narration takes place after two world wars caused by German aggression. But can the puzzling events clarify anything? Are they being accurately remembered or not? We must depend on his memory and memory is notoriously unreliable. The movie scenes are deliberately ambiguous. Is the white ribbon worn by the pastor’s children a symbol of the Jewish yellow star, or the Nazi armbands? Or both? Or neither? There is a creepy, sociopathic quality to many of the scenes. The scene where a small boy wakes in the middle of the night and wanders around in a darkened, ominous house before he stumbles upon his father and sister in a scene of ambiguous horror is unforgettable. This movie is a portrayal of a claustrophobic, stifling society where the viewer longs for some fresh air and escape from a sickness which manifests on a much larger scale. Even the German title, "Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte" which translates as "A German Children's Story" is ambiguous and ironically cynical. Modern Germans still live under the enormous shadow of so many unanswered questions, unexpired resentment, and the frustration of not getting a solution to the “who” and the “why” even now so many years later. In the end, as in life, there is no solution to the mystery which makes this such a brilliant and honest film. The frustration of the viewer mirrors the frustration of a generation still seeking answers.

Dec 26, 2012

Barely readable white font English language sub-titles that are tiny, lower-case and blurry. When the film imagery is light-in-value towards the bottom of the screen [it's a black & white film] the sub-titles are completely unreadable.

Jan 05, 2012

Beautifully filmed bleak drama about strange happenings in a small German village just before World War I. As with all Michael Haneke's films, thought-provoking and disturbing, with an unresolved conclusion.

Aug 25, 2011

CREEPY...I saw this movie over a year ago, and I still think about it occasionally. If you don't mind subtitles and are used to slower paced movies with psychological drama...this is for you. Critics look too deeply into its meaning and say it's about the rise of fascism...maybe so...but I just found it to be a deeply disturbing movie about small towns, zealots, and repressed anger...no overt physical, but strong psychological violence.

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