Tuesday, January 1, 2013

White Ribbon

The White Ribbon, released by Michael Haneke in 2009, takes place in a north-German village where traditional hierarchies are rigidly enforced. The story begins in 1913 and is brought to a halt in 1914 by the start of what later came to be called World War I.

I read that Haneke's casting of the numerous village children took six months and involved 7,000 try-outs. The intensity of acting he generates from within the group of children and teenagers is the engine that drives this ghastly, impressive vehicle.

Below, a sister and her young brother eat soup in their kitchen.

The boy was told that his mother "went on a trip" many months earlier, when in fact she died. In their dialogue below he is beginning to piece together the truth.

Brother: Do we all have to die?

Sister: Yes.

Brother: Everyone, really?

Sister: Yes, everyone has to die. 

Brother: But not you, Anni?

Sister:  Me too. Everyone.

Brother: But not Dad?

Sister: Dad too.

Brother: Me too?

Sister: You too. But not for a very long time. 

Brother: And there's nothing to be done about it? It has to happen? 

Sister: Yes, but not for a long time.