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The White Ribbon (2009)
"Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte" (original title)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 41,868 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 178 user | 281 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.

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Title: The White Ribbon (2009)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 50 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ernst Jacobi ...
...
Eva
...
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Fion Mutert ...
...
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The Pastor (as Burghart Klaussner)
Steffi Kühnert ...
Maria-Victoria Dragus ...
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Levin Henning ...
Johanna Busse ...
...
Josef Bierbichler ...
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

baron | village | children | horse | wire | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing content involving violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

24 September 2009 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

The White Ribbon  »

Box Office

Budget:

€12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$59,848 (USA) (1 January 2010)

Gross:

$2,222,647 (USA) (28 May 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the town itself is fictional, many of the incidents depicted in the film are drawn from real incidents in Germany and Austria during the 1920's-1940's. See more »

Quotes

Martin: I gave God a chance to kill me. He didn't do it, so he's pleased with me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits are shown in complete silence. There is no music or other sounds during the entire credit sequence. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

O Sacred Head Now Wounded
(uncredited)
Lyrics from a mediaeval Latin poem
Music by Hans Leo Hassler
Sung in the church
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"A horror drama, free from horror images"
4 September 2010 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Stunningly beautiful, shot in the exquisite black and white, with the faces of the characters looking like the old pictures from the beginning of the 20th century, The White Ribbon has the longer title in German, Das weiße Band, Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte -The White Ribbon - A German Children's Tale. The longer title gives quite a good idea behind the mystery of the troubling, disturbing, and shocking events in the film that did not have an explanation by the end of the film and left some viewers confused and unsatisfied. I think that the film is very clear and if approached with the open mind and readiness to accept the subtle details in the storytelling and implication, the open end will not disappoint. Anybody who is familiar with the work of Michael Haneke knows very well that he does not make pure mystery/thrillers even though his movies have a lot of mysteries and often very dark secrets By his own admissions, he uses the mystery in the White Ribbon to show the origins of the extremism of all epochs, and what could have been the beginning of the darkest times in the history of the country. Looking at the life of one small picturesque village in the northern Germany just on the brink of the World War 1, Haneke explores the malice, envy, apathy, hatred, and brutality that envelop the village like a web, and lead to the outbursts of evil that goes unpunished and will bring the larger evil in the future. While watching the film, I kept thinking how much it brings to mind the films of another master of grim and sad yet compelling and thought provoking pictures, Ingmar Bergman. Two of his films remind The White Ribbon especially. One, The Winter Light, a tragic and thought-provoking film about a village priest (Gunnar Bjornstrand) who can't give much comfort and hope to those who need them as he feels none for himself. Another - Fanny and Alexander, the story told from the point of view of two children, a brother and a sister whose lives changed tragically after their widowed mother married a local bishop, seemingly a charming and caring man. What would have happened to Fanny and Alexander, what kind of persons would they have become or would they have survived had they not had a big dysfunctional but loving family who saved them from the abusive, cruel hypocritical stepfather, Bishop Edvard Vergerus?

Like Bergman, Michael Haneke does not make the horror films but the computer generated monsters are simply a joke comparing to the real monsters of hatred and evil that found a place to hide and grow in the souls and minds of the characters in his latest film. It is a serious, disturbing, and thought-provoking film. With all its darkness and pessimism, the film has sweet, touching and even humorous moments. They have to do with the only love story in the film and come to think of it, the only love story in all Haneke's films I've seen, between the film's narrator, the local school teacher and the 17 years old Eva, the nanny for the children of the baron, the most powerful man in village.

One of the critics said that The White Ribbon is the film that will haunt the viewers for days and will be seen, discussed and thought of for the decades to come. I completely agree with that, and I feel I can watch it again and again. Yes, it is that good.


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Recent Posts
Not the most entertaining movie I've seen lately... write_mich
What most veiwers of this movie are not getting... belladonna99
This is not a mystery. BookBuffBob
Why is everyone missing the obvious truth about this film? namragus
Why didn't Eva want to have the picnic with the teacher? Voice-Of-Reason3
What happened to Karli when his mother (the midwife) left on the bicycle wtdark
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