Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The White Ribbon

Hit up a/perture for another arty film. Tonight? The German film The White Ribbon. Black and white, subtitled, and a 2 & 1/2 hour mindfuck.

Eerie. Observe:

"I gave God a chance to kill me. And he didn't. So he must be pleased with me."


Pre-World War I Germany. A country hamlet is "ruled" by the triumvirate of the estate baron, the preacher, and the doctor. Each rules with unbending and vicious control. Strange accidents occur: a wire is stretched between two trees felling the doctor from his horse, the farmer's wife falls through rotten floorboards at the sawmill, a local child is found bound and beaten, a disabled child is found nearly blinded. Who's the culprit? This tight-knit village is rocked with tragedy, but no one knows anything....

The preacher's children are punished for their particular insolence by a "purifying" beating with a cane and then the public disgrace of wearing the symbol of purity: a white ribbon, a la the scarlet letter or more appropriately in this scenario a yellow Star of David.

The local schoolteacher reminisces and narrates the tale as he recalls. He was determined to find out which of the hellish children committed these heinous acts...until the powers-that-be squash his inquiry with threats of arrest.

A mystery that does not reveal the criminal(s). You are left hanging. The news of Archduke Ferdinand's assassination occurs, and the movie just.....ends.

An artsy whodunit that frankly left me not caring. Too long and tedious to not get anywhere. Filmed artistically and framed well, but I just started to daydream and waver mid-film.

Matinee minus.

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