The White Ribbon, also titled Das Weisse Band, is a black and white film written and directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Heneke. It is the story of how society functioned in a German village pre World War I.
Based on the gripping details expressed throughout the film, one couldn’t help themselves but feel shame, disgust, shock and a bit more understanding of why individuals who are forced to live life in a bubble and are only exposed to one way of thinking, politically and in religion, tend to express their anger through terrorism and ultimately revolt in any means possible. The fact the movie ended with the beginning of World War I said alot for what Europe was about to experience with the unleashing of the troubled youth from similar disfunctioning villages around the (WWI) hot spots.
The film, which is 137 minutes long is so well written and filmed that you actually don’t feel the time while watching it. It is in German with English subtitles, but fear not, through the talented casts performance, you are able to completely understand most of their story through body language and are able to sympathise with them from their dramatic and heart wrenching display of emotion.
The only downfall may be for this film, in my opinion, is that although the story was right on target for a period movie, and the dialogue perfect and to the point in every scene, the ending, past the World War I message, was a bit disappointing considering the measures Heneke went to in order to show his audience how a town functioned, while trying to work together to solve the puzzling chain of mysterious events the town was experiencing. I think it would have been best to wrap up the story in a more clear and concise fashion for the international audience outside of Germany. But I suppose sometimes it’s best to leave certain details to our own interpretation or imagination and hence the movie The White Ribbon.
This film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival 2009 where it won the Palma D’Or award. The film also won the Golden Globes 2010 for best Foreign Film and is currently nominated and awaiting results for the 2010 Academy Awards.
I highly recommend the movie, but for a mature audience, it is a must see.