Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The White Ribbon

It's the summer of 1913- the most idyllised summer of them all- and bad things are happening in the Austrian village of Eichwald. These things must surely form some sort of a pattern- they may even have a larger, socio-historical significance- but the memory that transmits them is faulty- warped by the interposition of a couple of wars-  there are gaps in its knowledge and certain scenes may be pure invention. We see with clarity (the cinematography is achingly sharp) we speculate widely, we know nothing. 

At the heart of the film- or a little to one side- is the most delicate love story.

The White Ribbon looks like a Bergman movie. Quite deliberately so. The digital footage has been manipulated to resemble Sven Nykvist's black and white cinematography of the 1960s, the pastor- a man capable of great gentleness and the coldest cruelty- looks a lot like Gunnar Bjornstrand and there's a scene between a professional man and his mistress that closely mirrors a famous scene in Winter Light. This isn't the slavish imitation of a disciple, it's one master tipping his hat to another as they pass on the road. Haneke has earned the right.
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