HOLLYWOOD —“The White Ribbon” is the title of the English version of a shocking but incredibly well-written German film titled, “Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte.” Director Michael Haneke released the following synopsis of the film, “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.” The film is on the small scale when compared to Hollywood epics; however, the story which is very chilling to audiences is not being ignored by international audiences and will not make a big box office splash in America, and it is a film many people will find hard to watch.
Horror genre is not the category this film belongs. Like “Schindler’s List” this feature film leaves one believing that evil does exist but that truth and tolerance can outweigh the evil doers on the planet. The almost hypnotic pace of the film takes one back to yesteryear in splendid black and white photography. It’s a hard film to watch, one you won’t love but is absolutely mesmerizing and moving in the old style of movie making from the 1940s. Director Haneke has earned the Palm d’Or at Cannes in 2009 for this arresting drama set just before World War I. In a local German village, a number of unexplained accidents beset the school children and their parents. Though they at first appear coincidental, it begins to seem that they are not, in fact, accidents at all. Viewers are soon witness to pure evil that has bigotry as its root cause. What I found so amazing about the film is the cruelty seems unearthly in the film but isn’t when you see stories of children being abused on a daily basis on the news and in papers across the nation. The untold horrors many witness and endure in this film cannot be described, it has to be seen to believe.
“The White Ribbon” is in limited release in most major cities throughout the U.S.
This film receives Four of Five Stars for making the viewer think about life and humanity. This is a film that could only be made in Germany. Their history is ripe with violence and humanity turning its head away from the horrors it sees.