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a question by Oct 7, 2010
Who do you think was responsible for all of the violent incidents in "The White Ribbon"??
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answered:    October 09, 2010
Sorry I am late for this question. Things have been real hectic on my end. Anyway, I don't think it was any one or single group of persons responsible for the mysterious incidents in the film. I do think that some adults were responsible for some of the odd occurences (such as the woman who went to report to the police), the trap in the barn, and others. I do think that the kids were responsible for some of the incidents that involved the other children--but it wasn't so simple. The community itself was guilty.

I think Haneke meant the answer to be a little more intangible; it is the matter of considering the lifestyle in that small estate that in the end provoked a lot of the weird events. I guess Haneke wanted to viewer to see past the easy answer and to allow the viewer to see what blind faith and reliance to tradition can easily mislead and make folks blind to the real truth. The one responsible for all the violent incidents was innocence lost, the designs of tradition and the inepitude of people (denial of the truth and tyrannical values). It is the product of a reaction to suppression.

Ok, I hope that wasn't too dramatic LOL!
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October 09, 2010
Agreed, the whole community was at fault for the general dysfunction therein, but I felt that there was definitely a single individual or group that was responsible for the boys being tied up and beaten, for the doctor's fall, and for the fire. I felt, and this is purely me, that the girl who was being molested by her father was the one responsible for most of it since she was the one who had the most repressed anger and couldn't really improve her own circumstances. Clearly, no one else at that point had a vendetta against the doctor, her father. And it would also make sense that she would have resentment at the other children who weren't being abused. it would also explain why the mentally retarded boy was attacked since he was also staying in their house. It seems likely that she may have collaborated with the children of the priest as well.

In direct response to your observations, if that was Haneke's message, it would also explain why the teacher who is the only person in town willing to confront the issues straight-on has no secrets of his own and is at no point afflicted by some bizarre tragedy.
October 09, 2010
That is true. The girl was shown as the one with the most potential for anger but in a community like that--so repressed and afraid, I am sure there would be more suspects. I think the girl was more frightened though of her father and it may well be her secret boyfriend (not revealed to refelct suppression) or her brother himself responsible for the doctor's accident. There can be no clear answers to this question.
October 10, 2010
She didn't have a secret boyfriend though.
October 11, 2010
I know she didn't--but it could be a possibility since everyone is just so repressed that they hide their dealings from almost everyone.
October 11, 2010
I don't think so. She was too submissive and too obedient to her father to have a secret relationship. Besides, there wasn't anyone else in the village who would've been either the right age or the right personality type for her.
October 11, 2010
I agree. It was just me reading into the many possibilities, as with a society that repressed I would think that such things may be possible since the tale was more based off that teacher's narration and many of those were hearsay.

The Philippines is the same way--no divorce and yet couples are cheating on each other. (they have annulment). They see contraceptives as immoral, yet, couples have sex and have abortion later. At least some Asian countries are under communism, but the Philippines is supposed to be democratic but yet the Catholic church has such social/political clout that it is embarrassing. Oh, well, the citizens still do what they want LOL!
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