Saturday, July 3, 2010

The White Ribbon par Haneke

At long last, it is White Ribbon time for me. I meant to catch it while it played in theaters, but I failed -- failed! -- to get to it.

More to follow, or so I will assert.

2 comments:

John Carter Wood said...

We haven't seen this one yet either (though it's on The (ever lengthening) List.

But his Time of the Wolf is excellent; and given your love of The Road (which I share), I think it'd interest you.

(Though it's a very different film than The Road, despite its similar theme.)

We really liked Caché as well.

I'm interested to hear what you thought about Das Weisse Band.

Dale said...

JCW - I'm still processing The White Ribbon (TWR); for a Haneke film, it wasn't as shocking as I expected it to be. I kept waiting for something that would keep me awake at night, but while it came glancingly close, there wasn't anything quite like that.

One thing I saw early on were the parallels to Bergman's Winter Light (WL) -- the film's pastors look almost identical, there's a similar "romantic" dynamic between the doctor and his mistress as was between WL's pastor and his mistress, it closes with a church service, the lighting and camera work are comparable, and much more.

I'm tempted to say this is WL set a generation or two earlier and a few countries south: a time when the townspeople still held to the old traditions and forms, and yet when, even among the kids -- maybe especially so -- an undeniable strain of darkness was coming to the fore.

The latter is underscored by the outbreak of WWI with which the film closes, and, well, we know how that all turned out.

WWI reshuffles the deck for TWR (we know the town will never be the same after it), just as the Cold War does for WL (Max von Sydow's character connects his despair with the inevitability of nuclear war, and his suicide ramifies through the rest of the story).

There's still much to process here. I haven't even touched on the theme of collective guilt, which seems to have been among Haneke's explicit concerns here.