When: Thursday, 6 May - Tuesday, 6 July
Where: Various cinemas
How much: $15
As with most of Michael Hanekeís films, a chill hangs in the air of The White Ribbon, the constant threat of upheaval eventually lulling you into a tired state of alertness. Narrated by a fumbling but sympathetic school teacher, it is the story of a fictional German village over the course of a year stemming between 1913 and 1914. Though hardly mentioned, the imminence of World War I pervades the film as it displays the life and society of the townsfolk and the brooding severity that underpins their lives.
For all its anthropological concern captured beautifully in crisp black and white, there is mystery and terror, too. Strange things are afoot in the village, both accidental and intended. A wire is stretched between two trees to cause harm to the doctor and the baronís cabbages are willfully destroyed following a tragedy at the sawmill. We see the cycle of ill treatment, resentment and revenge amongs all levels of the small society, with a focus on the children of the village, two of whom are made to wear white ribbons by their pastor father, a sign of lost innocence.
The White Ribbon is a step outside of Hanekeís recent explorations into reactionary viewer experiments (Funny Games, Cachť), but still manages to put forth questions of terrorism, trust and personal war. Itís not all dark days, however; love does blossom among the bonnets in some of the filmís finest scenes. The winner of the 2009 Cannes Palme díOr, itís a tightly controlled film that requires a second viewing after the dust settles.
To win one of ten double passes to see The White Ribbon, email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kate Jinx