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The White Ribbon (2009)

Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (original title)
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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?

Director:

Michael Haneke

Writers:

Michael Haneke, Michael Haneke (story)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 59 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Friedel ... The School Teacher
Ernst Jacobi ... The School Teacher as an Old Man (voice)
Leonie Benesch ... Eva
Ulrich Tukur ... The Baron
Ursina Lardi ... The Baroness
Fion Mutert Fion Mutert ... Sigi
Michael Kranz ... The Tutor
Burghart Klaußner ... The Pastor (as Burghart Klaussner)
Steffi Kühnert ... The Pastor's Wife
Maria Dragus ... Klara (as Maria-Victoria Dragus)
Leonard Proxauf ... Martin
Levin Henning Levin Henning ... Adolf
Johanna Busse Johanna Busse ... Margarete
Thibault Sérié ... Gustav
Josef Bierbichler ... The Steward
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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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Austria | France | Italy

Language:

German | Italian | Polish

Release Date:

5 March 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The White Ribbon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$59,848, 3 January 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,222,647, 30 May 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Haneke wanted the environments to be very dark, so many indoor scenes used only practical light sources such as oil lamps and candles. In some of the darkest scenes, where the crew had been forced to add artificial lighting, extra shadows could be removed in the digital post-production which allowed for extensive retouching. See more »

Goofs

In the scene when the farmer sits next to his wife's corpse, the actress's breathing is noticeable. See more »

Quotes

Martin: I gave God a chance to kill me. He didn't do it, so he's pleased with me.
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 At the Movies: Episode #10.1 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

O Sacred Head Now Wounded
(uncredited)
Lyrics from a mediaeval Latin poem
Music by Hans Leo Hassler
Sung in the church
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Exquisite and brooding mood-piece
21 May 2009 | by mensch-2See all my reviews

Few film auteurs can match the consistency of Michael Haneke, and once again the Austrian filmmaker has come up trumps with an exquisite and brooding mediation on repression, tradition and the sins of the father.

Shot in stunning black and white, the film chronicles a series of mysterious events in a town leading up to the outbreak of WWI. The pace is slow and thoughtful, and the film is reference to August Sander while being a respectful throwback to the German expressionists whose work would come out of the horrors the film's narrative seems to foreshadow.

The hallmarks of Haneke's body of work are all there – elegiac tone, clinical editing, wincingly frank dialogue – but in many ways The White Ribbon stands alone in the canon. It is a challenging work that will polarise audiences but represents a breathtaking new wave not just in the director's career but in European cinema.

Some might say the film's inherent flaw is that there is no-one to root for, but this is perhaps its key strength. It's certainly plausible that this is Haneke's intention: he wants to position us as mute outsiders to a slowly creeping menace, unable to have a say in the invisible horrors that await us. The result is a deadening and thoroughly rewarding experience - a combination few filmmakers could hope to achieve.


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