Das weisse Band

Das weisse Band

The white ribbon : eine deutsche Kindergeschichte

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. Includes featurette.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2010
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (144 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in
Uniform Title: White ribbon


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May 16, 2018

This movie is very somber. It is a compelling story about a small northern German village just before WWI. I was intrigued by the "accidents" and the many interesting characters. Burghart Klaussner plays the town pastor - you may remember him in the German film, The People vs. Fritz Bauer. Beautiful cinematography. I understand the director studied Ingmar Bergman films to get the black and white details down.

I could not finish watching film. Two German films I enjoyed better on 19th and early 20th century village life under Baron rule are Edgar Reitz' "Home From Home" and Werner Herzog's The Enigmas of Klaus Barber.

Jan 28, 2018

One of the objections people have to art films is that events are often puzzling, and worse, the endings are unresolved. I can't promise you won't be mystified about exactly who did what to whom in this early 20th century German village, but I hope you'll be able to look past that for the answers to some larger questions, and a piece of the puzzle of our world today. The acting, writing and direction are superb. The pace is slow, but the emotions are explosive. The attached trailer will give some idea if The White Ribbon is for you.

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.

Vreeah_Nuw May 23, 2014

This is my first German pov (i.e. non-american made) film, and first foreign flick in a long time. I kept an open mind throughout keeping up with the subtitles. Some of the subject matter discussed/experienced by the characters is even relevant today, only the way they are dealt with differ from even other cultures of the same era. It is a perverse film, which tugs at the manipulative-vain sided nature of children, such that of today's youth. At times it reminded me of M Night Shyamalan's The Village, I didn't even notice the B&W untill about maybe 20 min. in. This just may be one of those movies that must be viewed a second time to get subtleties. I recommend to those who are active viewers, with intent to get into the characters' heads. I am still thinking about the motives and possible culprits!

btmslt Mar 12, 2013

A far to slow moving film which I did not finish watching.

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.

Froster Jun 26, 2012

Finally Haneke does things right, and his provocative, cerebral approach to film is matched by passion. The enigmatic, unresolved quality of this movie is its very point. History itself will resolve the repressive, small-minded milieu of pre-war Germany, and the world will be the worse for it. The poisonous atmosphere of this village is the real culprit in the crimes portrayed, and Haneke makes this atmosphere both palpable, and surprisingly natural. No tricks up his sleeve this time, and he really delivers a knock-out.

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.

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Vreeah_Nuw May 23, 2014

Vreeah_Nuw thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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