The White Ribbon
Autumn 2010 Features series
Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 4:00pm
Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 7:00pm
Directed by Michael Haneke
Screenplay by Michael Haneke
Starring Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi, Fion Mutert, Michael Kranz, Burghart Klaußner
Rated 14A ·
Austria, Germany, France, Italy
German, Italian, Polish, Latin
The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte)
The action takes place in a German village in the fifteen months that precede World War I.
Among the people who live there are a baron, who is a large landowner and a local moral authority, his estate manager, a pastor with his many children, a widowed doctor and a schoolteacher. It is he who, many years later, tells this story.
Though everything seems to be quiet and orderly, as it always has been, with the seasons following each other, and good harvests following bad ones, suddenly strange events start to occur. At first some appear to be quite ordinary, even accidental — a farmer’s wife dies falling through rotten floorboards — others are inexplicable and as they escalate, are decidedly malevolent.
The village is worried, and at a loss as to what to do. The baron whose wife will soon leave the village to go to live in Italy makes a speech in the church, but it has no effect. The pastor, a particularly strict character, had since the beginning of the events, tied a white ribbon to the arm of his two eldest children, a boy and a girl: it is to remind them permanently of their duties to purity. In spite of these ribbons, his own family is not spared.
The schoolteacher, whose pupils are growing more and more unruly, and who is considering getting married (the only love-story in the film), starts little by little to unravel the mystery. What he discovers seems incredible to him and is denied by key village players. Yet it heralds something that will explode fifteen or twenty years later.
Amidst all this, the Archduke of Austria has been murdered by a Serbian in Sarajevo. An international crisis is brewing. The worries and the dramas of the village are soon lost in the strange excitement of the coming war but the schoolteacher ponders over it all again.
Winner: Three Cannes awards including La Palme d’Or (the Golden Palm), 14 additional international awards and Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and Best Achievement in Cinematography (2010).