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White Ribbon [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import]

Christian Friedel , Ernst Jacobi , Michael Haneke    Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi
  • Directors: Michael Haneke
  • Writers: Michael Haneke
  • Producers: Andrea Occhipinti, Margaret Ménégoz, Michael Katz, Stefan Arndt, Stefano Massenzi
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Jun 2010
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00386OWUC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,537 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Like an ice-cold shower, Michael Haneke's solemn and sobering films are more often good for the soul than a guaranteed pleasure. While not as confrontational as his previous film Funny Games, Haneke's The White Ribbon--an account of sinister events in a rural German village in 1913--offers no compromises to the audience, but creates an unsolvable, unsettling riddle meant as a remedy to the disposable violence of conventional cinema. The morality of the village is safeguarded by three powerful disciplinarians: a doctor, a pastor and a baron, each privately abusive in different ways. Their order is threatened by a series of local incidents ranging from apparent accidents to acts of callous sabotage and vicious cruelty. The village's creepy-looking children are somehow involved; in 20 years, the narrator reflects, the same kids will participate in the rise of Nazi Germany, and a link is implied between the rise of fascism and a generation's moral hypocrisy and authoritarianism. But nothing is confirmed and no-one is accused. Neither is the audience off the hook: we're complicit in the generalized evil at the heart of The White Ribbon for expecting the kind of palatable violence that's carried out by unambiguous villains. Haneke gives us no such consolation. To borrow Al Pacino's great lines from Scarface: we're not allowed to point our fingers and say 'that's the bad guy', however much we need to. --Leo Batchelor

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A troubling film 30 Nov 2009
Format:DVD
This is a film that will divide opinion between those who are firm advocates and those who wonder what all the fuss is about.

It is stunningly shot in black and white and well acted particularly by the children. It's a convincing film whose camera shots convey menace and evil in a way that is unsettling.

The story of a small German village and the appalling sequence of events that touch all the lives there is told through the schoolmaster. What do the atrocities mean? Who is the perpetrator? What part do the children play?

Given the adults are almost all unsavoury (one encounters abuse of all types) it is not surprising that the children grow up in a peculiar fashion. There will be parallels drawn between village life and the Nazis (indeed it's not hard to see one of the girls as a future concentration camp guard), but the film works well as a portrayal of an insular community turning in on itself.

Those who like their films neatly wrapped up with solutions will be disappointed. It provides no such comfort. But the conclusion of the film left me thoughtful and I returned to it days later to puzzle out what I thought about it. I'm still not entirely sure, but is it worth seeing? Yes indeed.
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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haneke does Thomas Hardy 12 Aug 2010
By William Cohen VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
I studied German at university, so I found this film to be familiar - the seriousness of the drama, the social hierarchy and the upright milieu of the baronial class, set against peasants and professionals. I'm used to Haneke creating contemporary drama, so this period piece was a bit of a surprise, it unfolds quite slowly, some of it doesn't make sense, there are lots of characters to follow.

Twice while I was watching this film, I had somewhere else to go, but I couldn't move. I found the tale to be spellbinding. You've got to have a taste for angst, horror and depravity, which tend to be Haneke's signature themes, but as in Cache or Code Unknown, Haneke evokes something painful about the human condition, the misunderstandings, the brutality and the lack of knowledge of other people's motives and actions.

I can see why some people would hate it. The film shows you of the cruelty of parents, the shame of childhood sexuality, adult sexual abuse of children and the reality of profound unhappiness, and Haneke does it in very raw ways. It's very like a Thomas Hardy story, which remains unsatisfyingly unresolved. Like Ravel's Pavane pour une infante defunte, this film leaves you with a depression that lingers for days. But good depression, which leads to a more profound understanding of life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The White Ribbon won't appeal to those wanting a slick, colourful, fast-moving, gimmicky, loud sort of film with a few easy-to-digest plotlines, tidily resolved by the end.

If I had to sum it up in one line I'd say it is majestically Proustian in its treatment of the life of a pre-1stWW rural German community - but without the laughs.

An utterly memorable film that, some months after seeing it, still remains with me. The casting is superb - it's almost impossible to believe that these are not real characters, experiencing real - and terrible - events. The choice of treatment (almost no music except when integral to the story, black & white, long, lingeringly long, scenes full of rich detail making it utterly worthwhile to concentrate and stay with it - and, most impressive of all, no lurid scenes spelling out in prurient detail the cruelties perpetrated - the restraint was so powerfully used it was almost unbearable to think of what was happening...

But bearable it was, surprisingly, and I sat through this long film mesmerised, feeling totally swept up by it; the people and the room in which I sat seemed to disappear and I felt I WAS THERE, a ghostly observer, hardly daring to breathe.

The story took me on a journey I didn't realise I was going to make, and wouldn't have chosen to make but circumstances were such I had no choice but to be there - and I have absolutely no regrets and no doubt that I've seen one of the all-time great films. Setting aside the horrors of the various anguished situations that make up the story, it clears up any soppily Disneyesque ideas one might have had that rural life was golden in those times before the first WW. On many levels, this film had great integrity.
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103 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking in the extreme 16 Dec 2009
Format:DVD
Before you start to read this, please note that it will give away some of the plot. I thoroughly recommend the film, and suggest you watch it without any preconceived ideas.

This film is extraordinary with myriad levels of interest. As an insight into rural lifestyles of the era it is fascinating (it would seem German agricultural production was much more labour-intensive and much less mechanised than in Britain at the same time, although probably it's wrong to make generalisations from the depiction of events on just one estate). It clearly shows how society was stratified into aristocracy (the Baron and Baroness), the educated elite (the doctor, the pastor & the teacher) the somewhat educated higher-level servants (the steward and the nanny) with uneducated agricultural labourers at the bottom of the pack.

Visually, the film is stunning; there is tremendous attention to detail in terms of costumes and architecture (just occasionally an over-modern window frame creeps in). Time and time again, there are beautifully composed shots of the village, the fields and the estate. The interiors of the houses are particularly noteworthy. When the peasant farmer goes into his bedroom to see his just-dead wife, the bareness and unevenness of the walls is indescribably depressing. The interiors of the other homes have been recreated entirely in keeping with the station of the owner.

The two above points, however, are not the main reason for watching the film (they are sort of extra "treats", if you like). A series of sinister events leads to closer scrutiny of the characters mentioned above.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice one!!
This movie has a moderately simple plot, that anyone with an average IQ can work out. It's hard to believe that there are those that buy a foreign language film and are... Read more
Published 4 months ago by B. L. Rudd
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT TV
I'm American and I am in love with this DvD.. Watching foreign TV is amazing and fun. I'm in awe of how great the storytelling and love the actors roles. Read more
Published 4 months ago by noah
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the inner life of a N German village pre-WWI,...
Excellently acted and directed, this film is as good as the director's later Love (Amour). The harsh twisted atmosphere of the village and its inhabitants is memorably portrayed
Published 6 months ago by Maecenas
2.0 out of 5 stars May Be Called More Intellectually Rigorous Style Than Most
The White Ribbon, 2009. In that eventful year 1913, before the outbreak of World War I, strange and brutal incidents threaten to shatter a rural northern German town's orderly... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
5.0 out of 5 stars Seething resentment
Beautifully observed piece about the perversions of power and the delusion of order. Disconnections at the point where connections are usually taken for granted: between father and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by W. Rodick
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Ribbon - A Study in Recent Feudalism
The White Ribbon

A continuation of the fine traditions of neo-realistism and expressionism that honestly belong to German film-making, The White Ribbon reminds us of... Read more
Published 14 months ago by TG FRENCH
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bergmanesque Masterpiece by Michael Haneke
In spite of having a style that distances the viewer from his material, and his refusal to provide any answers to the questions his films raise, Michael Haneke is a deeply serious... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Robert Blenheim
5.0 out of 5 stars A Belter !!
Dark and foreboding. Black and white medium adds a great deal. Simple plot but engaging. Casting excellent. Some real odd people. Sub titles not for everyone. Read more
Published 16 months ago by C. Wilkinson
3.0 out of 5 stars white ribbon dvd
don't know about this one personally, was bought as a present for a friend who had wanted to see it.she said it was ok.
Published 16 months ago by jacqueline mabey j.mabey
3.0 out of 5 stars the white ribbon
Beautifully shot in black and white, visually this film reminded me of Wolf Rilla's brilliant Children of the Damned (1960). Read more
Published 16 months ago by thetruthshallsetyefree
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