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Foreign Film - Germany - The White Ribbon

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The White Ribbon
Directed by Michael Hanake
German with English subtitles
Black and white
Germany 2009
Sony Pictures Classics 2010
144 minutes

Foreign film DVD often get dismissed as ponderous, purposefully opaque, artsy fartsy for no particular reason, and set up so intellectuals can discuss them until they are blue in the face and still not agree. It is difficult not to do the same with The White Ribbon

Winner of the 2009 Palme d'Or and Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe, The White Ribbon tells the story of a pre World War One estate in Germany. The story is told by an old man who was the village school teacher. First, someone tries to kill the doctor by tripping his horse. Then the Baron's son is beaten, a barn is burned down,  the midwife's handicapped son is more severely beaten. No one knows who is responsible and the social order of the community is said to be breaking down.

The White Ribbon refers to a ribbon the pastor's two eldest children are forced to wear after being naughty so as to remind them of purity and so on. This is probably meaningful.

If you satisfactorily explain The White Ribbon to me, I will send you an assortment of 5 foreign film DVD from my pretty vast collection. However, you cannot say it is a foretelling of Nazi Germany. Any film set in Germany in the first 39 years of the twentieth century is foreshadowing in some way shape or form. If you say The White Ribbon is a metaphor, you better know what for and prove it.

Since this is a foreign film I will not be able to give away even if I try I'll even toss in my The White Ribbon DVD as a bonus and you do not have a choice in the matter.

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