MIFF review: The White Ribbon (2009)

12 Aug

Dir: Michael Haneke

Awards: Palme d’Or at Cannes


An amazing film – many walk outs during the screening.

Shot in black and white, the film is set in small town in northern Germany just before WW2. Strange unexplainable crimes begin to happen – the doctor is tripped from his horse by wire, a woman dies from an ‘accident’ at the saw mill. The child of the towns main employer and land owner, The Baron, is found tied up with the marks of a severe lashing. As the school teacher and narrator of the the story slowly unravels these mysteries we become privy to the many secrets the town holds and the everyday cruelties that the adults inflict on each other and their children. A quiet and heavy atmosphere of horror builds as the audience blindly stares at the clues, but with so many villains in this story it is almost impossible to figure out the culprit.


The truth is too sinister to bare and the notion of justice of any kind becomes an impossibility. War breaks and the truth is never revealed; it is a mirror of the horror of war and those who are really accountable. No one is exonerated except those who search for and try to expose truth in a hope for change. An amazing exploration on how evil manifests itself in humans and is passed on like a plague.

Score: *****

Jemila MacEwan

[you’re definitely a love or hate it reviewer. Passionate. -ed]


One Response to “MIFF review: The White Ribbon (2009)”

  1. TEssa August 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    i really wanted to see this at the film fest. i saw the re-made Funny Games a few months ago. full on but good. not for everyone either.

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