7.8/10
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The White Ribbon (2009)

Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (original title)
Trailer
1:52 | Trailer
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 62 wins & 46 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

More than 7000 children were interviewed during the six-month-long casting period. For most of the adult roles, Michael Haneke selected actors with whom he had worked before and therefore knew they were suitable for the roles. 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.
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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

Featured in Mein Leben: Michael Haneke (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
(uncredited)
Written by Martin Luther
Sung in the church
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User Reviews

 
A Masterly Tale on the Circulation of Violence
19 November 2009 | by nurikaSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Germany | Austria | France | Italy | Canada

Language:

German | Italian | Polish | Latin

Release Date:

5 March 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The White Ribbon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$59,848, 3 January 2010

Gross USA:

$2,222,862

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,319,671
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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