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Like a Twilight Zone episode directed by Antonioni, The White Ribbon weaves an unsettling and enigmatic spell. Michael Haneke's film is set just before World War I in a village in northern Germany, where a series of strange occurrences take place over several months. These occurrences are sinister and cruel and often involve the children of the village--not merely as victims (although child abuse seems to be a far-from-isolated event) but also as perpetrators. At least that's the way it appears. Nothing is completely spelled out in Haneke's scheme, which hints and insinuates and thoroughly gets under the viewer's skin over the course of 144 edgy minutes. We might notice the children are of an age that will make them mature participants in the horror of Germany in the 1930s and '40s, but even this is left as an unemphasized point. Since Haneke is an expert at denying explicit conclusions for his projects (see also Caché and Funny Games for more on the subject), we shouldn't be surprised that he withholds the answers to the questions he poses, or that the film is even more powerful because of this withholding. Adding to the effect is Christian Berger's Oscar-nominated black-and-white cinematography, which has a ghostly quality appropriate to the topic. In the end, all the strange happenings of the village are absorbed into the town's rhythm of life--which might be the most disturbing conclusion of all. --Robert Horton --This text refers to the DVD edition.
Dark, somber story. Icy cold atmosphere and certainly not a spirited film, it is nevertheless a very good film. I would rewatch it for the cinematography alone.Published 19 months ago by nobody
"White Ribbon is a movie of precision"if you can't read between the lines you will absolutely
not get what you're seeing,so to take your time on a long movie like this trust... Read more
I don't have to say much here, just that Haneke returns with a relentlessly upsetting but insightful film about what might have led to Fascism in the decades leading up to WWII. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2011 by Dan
One of the best films I have seen in a long time!
A sharp black and white film that takes the viewer back to the days before WW1, in a small village in Northern Germany, a... Read more
Holy moly, the creepiest movie since The Ring. Shot in black in white only adds to the barren and isolated feel to the northern German village where all sorts of horrible... Read morePublished on March 10 2011 by Brian Maitland