Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte - a very meticulous sort of film


Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009, Austria/Germany/France/Italy)

Seen: Monday, 30th November 2009
Runtime: 144′
Director: Michael Haneke
Cast: Christian Friedel, Leonie Benesch, Maria-Victoria Dragus, Leonard Proxauf
Production House: X-Filme Creative Pool, Wega Film, Les Films du Losange, Lucky Red, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM), German Federal Film Board, Mini-Traité Franco-Canadien, Deutsche Filmförderfonds (DFFF), Austrian Film Institute, Vienna Film Financing Fund, Minist?re de la Culture et de la Communication, Eurimages
Plot: (from imdb)

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.


Impressions In Short
Very well-crafted, but sort of cold.

More About the Film
It’s not really a film that has stayed with me… though it’s a very good, very meticulous kind of film. Stylistically, it has an immense sort of precision.
Compared to some of Haneke’s other films, this one was very delicate on the amount of perversion shown ;) But I still walked out feeling there was something very perverse about the film. There were a couple of things that were quite heavy, but the one that seemed to hit me the most was the masturbation thing, which was very light by comparison. The idea that a father could tie up his teenage son every night, so that he wouldn’t masturbate, felt totally perverse to me. That whole conversation between the pastor and his son is a very strong scene.
The ending was very weird, it leaves you pondering who did what and why.
On a final note, I’m a bit confused about how this film relates to Nazism. That’s something that gets mentioned in reviews everywhere. Supposedly there is some sort of link (Hitler had a similar childhood or something like that?), but IMO you can watch the film without analysing the film from that angle at all.

Yes, I think. The usual “Beware, this is an art house film” proviso applies though.

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