Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
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From July, 1913 to the outbreak of World War I, a series of incidents take place in a German village. A horse trips on a wire and throws the rider; a woman falls to her death through rotted planks; the local baron's son is hung upside down in a mill; parents slap and bully their children; a man is cruel to his long-suffering lover; another sexually abuses his daughter. People disappear. A callow teacher, who courts a nanny in the baron's household, narrates the story and tries to investigate the connections among these accidents and crimes. What is foreshadowed? Are the children holy innocents? God may be in His heaven, but all is not right with the world; the center cannot hold. Written by
Das Weisse Band represents the kind of cinema that is cerebral, cognitive and dialectic without deviating from the conventions of classic storytelling. In examining the origins and nature of terrorism in human societies and psychology, the film quickly resigns from a simple depiction of country rural life in 1913 and transforms into a sadistic 'whodunnit' thriller with the main protagonists being two conflicting generations: the elderly and the youth. Das Weisse Band takes the risk of setting off too many narratives in accordance to the individual stories that occur, but the utterly terrifying aspect and power-point of the film is what we do not see happening in front of our eyes. Gripping, exciting, focused cinema.
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