Wednesday, 17 February 2010
The White Ribbon 
Michael Haneke’s latest feature, The White Ribbon, is an extraordinary work of high art. On surface viewing it appears to be a paradigm shift vis-à-vis the films Haneke has been mostly come to be identified with. The austere black-and-white appearance, combined with the somber tone and the nearly muted philosophical overtures are quite atypical of him. However, scratch deep and you’ll realise that the movie is as grim and as capable of provoking as any he has made, with themes like societal bigotry and the inevitability of violent eruptions even in the most peaceful of conditions playing vital roles. A psychologically haunting and visually ravaging film, the Austrian provocateur has attempted to unravel the cause of World War I though this complex, pseudo-mystery character study. As a series of seemingly inexplicable and unfortunate incidents start occurring in a small, paternalistic, and heavily orthodox German village, the veneer of civility and placidity that initially marked the villagers starts wearing off, revealing a snarl that is frightening in its display of hypocrisy, moral policing and repression. The movie has been presented through the eyes of a pleasant-natured and liberal outsider. The movie raises far more questions than it ever seeks to answer, and that, along with the implosive content and themes, makes for an arresting if disconcerting viewing experience.
Director: Michael Haneke
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Mystery