“The White Ribbon” also known as “Das Weisse Band” is a German-Austrian film taking place before World War I. The film is directed by Michael Haneke and won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
The film takes place in a northern town in Germany during 1914, and focuses on the lives of the school children choir and their families. The town is watched over by the Baron who most of the town works for.
There are a series of tragedies in the town, including deaths, attempted murders and injuries to other members of the town. The storyline follows the schoolmaster’s attempts to figure out who could be the culprit of all of these crimes.
After many of the children’s behavior change after the incidents, many of them face forms of punishment acceptable during the time period, but have now been deemed unusual and cruel.
The film takes place over an entire year, and is narrated by a member of the town. The film, while having an interesting premise and beautiful cinematography, was quite lengthy. There was a lot that could have been cut from the film and still have given the same quality of performance and narrative.
The film lasted almost three hours, and was entirely in German. While the authenticity of the language for was appreciated, the plot line seemed to move quite slowly as the seasons changed.
The film was beautifully directed and the actors gave very believable performances, especially the children in the film. The entire plot revolves mostly around the interactions between the children and their families.
With normal plot points, a love story, the abusive father and the divorce scandal between the rich family in town, film archetypes were all met with stellar performances.
The film is definitely worth watching, however, make sure you plan enough time to fully comprehend the work in its entirety.
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