Written on: 24/02/2010 by tobiasm (15 reviews written)
The White Ribbon is a film by Austrian producer Michael Haneke. I've seen it not long ago in the cinema of the Institut Francais in London. I thought the film was very good and very worth watching.
The story takes place in the year of 1914, only weeks before the outbreak of the first world war, in a small village in Northern Germany. The film is shot in black-and-white.
The plot of the film is narrated in retrospective by a former habitant of the village, who used to be the teacher there. The story is all around a series of inexplicable and grim events that shake the piece and quiet of the villagers - a severe riding accident of the villages doctor turns out to be a perfidious assault, the young son of the baron of the village is found tied up in the woods, cruelly abused, etc...
Although in the story it's never formerly resolved who committed those crimes, the narrator of the story conveys his (believable) opinion to the viewer: the children of the village are behind those atrocities...
The question that the film poses is what could possibly have caused young kids to perform such cruel deeds, and it's up to the viewer to speculate over the root cause of this kind of wrongdoing...
I really liked this film, because it leaves the viewer with an unresolved problem and lots of room for thinking and speculation. The film doesn't force one interpretation onto the viewer, although it is clearly tendential through the views and conclusions drawn by the narrator of the story. It's also through his voice that a very interesting theory evolves around an alleged connection between the kids behavioural patterns and events that take place in their adult lives, i.e. the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.
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