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The White Ribbon (2009)

Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (original title)
R | | Drama, Mystery | 5 March 2010 (USA)
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1:52 | Trailer

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Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 59 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ernst Jacobi ...
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Eva
...
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Fion Mutert ...
Michael Kranz ...
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The Pastor (as Burghart Klaussner)
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Levin Henning ...
Johanna Busse ...
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Josef Bierbichler ...

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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing content involving violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

5 March 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The White Ribbon  »

Box Office

Budget:

€12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£72,226 (UK) (13 November 2009)

Gross:

$2,222,647 (USA) (28 May 2010)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the town itself is fictional, many of the incidents depicted in the film are drawn from real incidents in Germany and Austria during the 1920s-1940s. See more »

Quotes

The Doctor: My God, why don't you just die?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening and closing credits are shown in complete silence. There is no music or other sounds during both entire credit sequences. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hjelp, vi er i filmbransjen (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
(uncredited)
Written by Martin Luther
Sung in the church
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Masterly Tale on the Circulation of Violence
19 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

White Ribbon focuses on a pre World War I German town and surveys the evolution of violent, wild incidents resembling punishments indicted on certain individuals. We are provided access to the story from the point of view of the town teacher, whose recollective voice-over interposes throughout the film. The narration competently obscures the culprits, thereby attributing the responsibility for the rage, and its (hypocritical) social incorporation to the whole society rather than certain "abnormal" characters.

In movie circles,White Ribbon is widely regarded as depicting the evolution of a microcosm of a proto-fascist society (which is to a certain extent viable by the way). However, the movie is a less Germany-specific and more universal parable on the socialization of rage and violence, on the evolution of the social circulation of rage and violence. The film follows a route from local (Germany) to universal, coming up with far reaching arguments, just as Foucault focuses on 18-19th century France and presents arguments on the evolution of prison and punishment systems.

Considering Haneke's entire filmography, it is evident that the director has always been interested in philosophical takes on pschology and human interaction, without historicizing his filmic arguments strictly, i.e., without attributing time spans/societies to them. If we leave the mediocrity of the enterprise aside, Haneke's recent remake of Funny Games shot-for-shot, yet in a different society (USA rather than Germany) fittingly illustrates the point.

After a span of work disappointing for many Haneke fans, the auteur returns with an influential and aptly argumentative film.


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