Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A European family who plan on escaping to Australia, seem caught up in their daily routine, only troubled by minor incidents. However, behind their apparent calm and repetitive existence, they are actually planning something sinister.
A 14-year-old video enthusiast is so caught up in film fantasy that he can no longer relate to the real world, to such an extent that he commits murder and records an on-camera confession for his parents.
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
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 »
Filmed beautifully in black and white with subtitles, The White Ribbon is a movie that will leave viewers with a lasting residue long after it ends. The film portrays the residents of a northern German village, dominated by a baron, sometime before World War I.
Inhabitants of this village, young and old, are sliding down the slippery slope of moral decline. The men in leadership positions - a doctor and clergyman, for example - are detestable, especially in their treatment of women and children. The most brutal scene in the movie, perhaps, was not one that portrayed physical violence, but verbal abuse towards a woman that served faithfully as caretaker, and more, for the town's widowed physician. As for the some of the children, although it is only suggested, it appears that they are budding sociopaths that perpetrate despicable acts against others.
Weeks after seeing this film, I started thinking more deeply about the children in this town. I realized that they would become young adults during the time Hitler would rise in power. They live an incubator in which the cruelty that they experience they, in turn, perpetrate against unsuspecting victims. Their circumstances are such that they are being unwittingly primed for carrying out the atrocities that will come to characterize their future in Nazi Germany. The White Ribbon is a prequel for the rise of the Third Reich.
Seeing this film led me to wonder about what present times are a prequel for.
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