The White Ribbon

Funny games has been on my most hated films list ever since I saw it. I’m not gonna go into it but I really disliked it at a very deep rooted level. Later I saw Pasolini’s Saló and I gotta say I liked that better but I wasn’t surprised to read a while ago that Saló is one of Michael Haneke’s favourite films. I think I saw Hidden as well but I’ve erased that from my mind completely.

I wasn’t about to see this movie either. After all what else could it be other then pure torture. But I got a lot of recommendations from people I trust so I decided to give it a go. My weekly movie watching quota wasn’t nearly filled anyways. And boy was I surprised! From the very first minute the movie takes a hold of you and set’s a mood that is very different from the Haneke movies I’ve seen. (Or maybe I’ve just grown up?) It isn’t a waiting game at all. What struck me funny right at the beginning is that it seems to state something that I found very exciting.

“I don’t know if the story that I
want to tell you, reflects the truth in every
detail. Much of it I only know by hearsay, and a
lot of it remains obscure to me even today, and
I must leave it in darkness. Many of these
questions remain without answer. But I believe I
must tell of the strange events that occurred in
our village, because they may cast a new light
on some of the goings-on in this country…”

It proposes that it is seeking for a reason. So, a good start for me! Oh and another thing I thought of immeadiately was that the “goings-on in this country” meant Nazis. I’m not sure if the above lines are meant to imply that at all. I found it interesting though and it carried along with the movie and gave curious viewpoints to a lot of the scenes. Even though on one hand it’s a who-dunnit this question never overpowers the story. Nothing actually overpowers the amazing story that is played out by an unbeliavable cast.

The cinematography is extremely classic Bergman style. It seems like it’s straight out of a cinematography handbook (or rather I bet some will be written about this movie). The lighting reminds me a lot of The Winter Light film that Sven Nykvist shot, Bergman directed and which they together planned the lighting for I believe. Especially the outdoor scenes. The highlights are handled beautifully. They seem to pop out and even hurt your eyes but they never seem to clip.

Spoiler alert! Don’t read further if you haven’t seen the movie!

Although I was profoundly amazed by everything in this movie I do have a little gripe about it. Thats kinda why Im writing this, to hear what did you think about the proposed answer for the who had done it? The kids that “came to help” at the scenes of the crime gave me flashbacks from the old eighties b-movie children of the corn. Not the actual content of what was going on in the movie but the way the kids were portrayed as so blase and emotionless. This was a bit of a downer but in the end it didn’t really take much out of the exprience. As of writing this I’ve already got past it. What do you think?

I will likely buy this on blu-ray when it comes out as well!

Here’s a very interesting interview clip that answers a few of the questions I had about the movie. Again I wouldn’t suggest to watch this one if you haven’t seen the movie.

The White Ribbon on IMDB

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