The White RibbonFeature Film |
A disturbing inquiry into the nature of fascism.
Even at his most restrained, Michael Haneke evinces a profoundly unsettling view of human nature. In The White Ribbon, the setting is a small farming town in northern Germany on the eve of WWI, where a series of disturbing and seemingly unrelated incidents occur. As with Caché, Haneke is loath to explicate who's responsible, but it's clear that the town's towheaded children are not innocents. Abused, beaten, and exposed to the hypocrisy of their elders, they apparently take their parents' rigid Protestant moralism a step too far. Haneke's films are typically more blunt—pedantic even—than this one in implicating the audience in the crimes onscreen. His relative subtlety—there are even likeable characters and moments of sweetness in the film—pays dividends. It's a completely absorbing film. Its hushed mystery and Christian Berger's gorgeously austere cinematography (the film was actually shot in color and converted to black-and-white in postproduction) create a pervasive sense of dread, although little brutality is shown onscreen. With an unreliable narrator and a dark palette (Haneke has never been afraid to keep his audience in the dark, figuratively or literally), The White Ribbon offers a disturbing and far-reaching inquiry into the nature of fascism.
|The White Ribbon Trailer|