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7,828 Ratings

The White Ribbon

Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte

Directed by Michael Haneke
Germany, Austria, 2009
Drama, Mystery, History


In a rural German village in 1913, brutal authority is enforced by the baron and the pastor. Malevolent occurrences involving the upper class gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual. A school teacher investigates and slowly discovers the incredible truth.

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The White Ribbon Directed by Michael Haneke

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2009 | 3 wins including: Palme d'Or

2009 | Special Mention: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

Academy Awards

2010 | 2 nominations including: Best Achievement in Cinematography

No one’s idea of a cinematic cuddle-bunny, Haneke is as much strategist as filmmaker and more pedagogue than visionary. The White Ribbon is certainly the most beautiful movie he has made—a sort of triumphantly willed Meisterwerk. His use of narrative uncertainty, resembling those in the unsolved mystery at the heart of Caché, may be standard-issue, but there’s no denying The White Ribbon’s seriousness and unity.
December 29, 2009
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Part deconstructed mystery and part clinical observation, Haneke’s combination of crisp black and white and neutral framing insightfully reflects the spectrum of social division – wealth, age, gender, education, spirituality, moral conscience – that equally serve as historical précis for prewar Germany and contemporary allegory for religious extremism.
October 13, 2009
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It is in granting so much pain and power to a community, to a group of people—and especially the town’s children—seem and unseen alike that White Ribbon strikes as something new brought to the cinema screen, or, perhaps more accurately, something old reinvested with some of its old power.
May 22, 2009
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What are people saying?

  • Lars Åndheim's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    Haneke is examining how authority attracts and betrays us. Lurking somewhere dim and damp, far behind these images' sharp chiaroscuro, are bewildered animals—afraid of the dark, in search of affirmative chastening—omnipotent concepts that reify their dream of order and transparency: the father, the dictator, God. Hope lies in the characters who are away from home and thus unconstricted by its corrupting gravity.

  • Francesco Tonelli's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    A phenomenal study about human nature and its evil side. A movie that every parent should watch.

  • Coral Amiga's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    Chilling, poignant and exquisitely shot - the images still haunt me and the story remains a disturbing lesson I could not have gotten elsewhere. I wait with baited breath for his next masterpiece.

  • msmichel's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    Haneke's Palme d'or winning tale on the genesis of fascism/terrorism/evil in a small rural community in Germany just prior to the start of WWI remains a staggering achievement. While the pacing and lack of denouement may be infuriating to some the quiet and reflective awards in watching are well worth the time. The Oscar nominated cinematography by C. Berger is masterful as is Haneke's studied, precise direction.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    Inverting his favourite directionality of evil, Haneke explores its inscrutability, in how it can subvert from within a community and once solidarity is shattered, he moves to indicating evil's eruption into the world. He revisits the 'Heimat' film, and genre too, and delivers a powerful blow to Gemeinschaft ties, poisoned as it were by an all-pervasive resentment with children becoming now chilling carriers of evil.

  • ig_____or's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    The doctor, the pastor and the baron are all hideous men, but for me Klara takes the crown of the creepiest character in this film, because her bleakness and malice seem so hidden beneath the surface, its like you're witnessing a new generation of evil. Astonishing film on all aspects, two-and-a-half hours very well spent. The scene where the little boy is explained by his sister what Death is... so unforgettable.

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    Haneke doesn't pull any punches. He shows the growth of an ideology with no compassion and little love. The mixture of evil and innocence is heartbreaking. When the minister's son brings him a new bird to replace the one killed by his vengeful daughter it brings tears to his eyes, but he still can't grasp the message. Everyone is locked into a pattern of behavior that is self-destructive.

  • Z's rating of the film The White Ribbon

    Plays like the most repressed, restrained, horror film you will ever see. Haneke is the ultimate killjoy, he refuses to indulge in cheap genre theatrics. The film is so quiet, so stifling that it makes you feel as though you can't breathe as you watch it. The black and white cinematography perfectly compliments Haneke's stark theater of cruelty. Authority's corrupt influence flowers as evil wears an innocent mask.

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