A gripping and suspenseful drama courtesy of Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke. The film takes place in a rather dysfunctional small community where all the community members hold dark secrets. Amidst a litany of sins, everything from incestuous abuse to severe punishment of children, a series of strange "incidents" occur that change the face of the town and reveal its true nature. The film is a very bleak character-driven mystery that excels at getting the viewer engaged, but perhaps its one weakness is the ending which fails to either unravel the mystery or at least narrow down the possibilities.
I’ve always enjoyed foreign films in the manner with which it can convey the bleakest themes through the suggestion of the emotions that can be awakened through its screenplay. Shot in its entirety in black and white with a near minimalist style of perspective-focused cinematography, filmmaker Michael Haneke is quite calculating when it comes to delivering art house shock value. Granted his films are usually for the esoteric few, as he unveils his story through the narration of a school teacher … more
Michael Haneke's latest may well be his greatest. It's a masterful depiction of the unraveling of a village, in the years leading up to the first World War. It's a dark film, but I don't think it's bleak. It is narrated by a hopeful young teacher, whose own sights are raised above the pettiness and insensitivity and unspoken class rivalries that lead the villagers to be mutually suspicious. At first it is his lofty ideals, his generous spirit and the fact that while he is not naive he nevertheless … more
In a small village in Northern Germany in 1916 a series of bizarre and horrid things happen. There is no explanation for these events, only mute rumors and musings in a town confined by strict Protestant rules of judgment and behavior. The town Doctor on horseback is tripped by a trap wire hidden on a path, is injured, and must leave town for a hospital treatment for a while: upon return we learn that the town doctor is anything but kind in his verbal and physical abuse of his office manager/mistress … more
Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" could be considered a mystery in that things happen for no apparent reason. The Doctor (Rainer Bock) breaks his arm after falling off his horse, which tripped over a wire strung between two trees. Not long after, someone abducts the eldest son of the Baron (Ulrich Tukur); he isn't found until the next morning, at which point it's discovered that he had been bound and beaten with a cane. A barn owned by the Pastor (Burghart Klaußner) is burned to the ground. The … more
Controversy-courting director Michael Haneke (CACHE) earned the Palm d'Or at Cannes in 2009 for this arresting drama set just before World War I. In a small German village, a number of unexplained accidents beset the schoolchildren and their parents. Though they at first appear coincidental, it begins to seem that they are not, in fact, accidents at all.