A magnum opus from Haneke and easily his most visually spectacular film
On top of the picturesque beauty, The White Ribbon is formally accomplished as well, and that is what he is most well-known for anyways
Ernst Jacobi does the voice over of the school teacher as an older man in flashbacks and whenever he speaks we get gorgeous landscapes shot in jaw-dropping monochrome
No musical score- like all of Haneke’s work
The narration says the events “clarify some things that happened to this country”
Stern parents to say the least. The Baron, The Pastor (he’s the one who institutes the white ribbon on his children to remind them of innocence (he really means sinlessness) and purity), the Doctor- no names. They’re all abominations
Gorgeous hallway shot of a dead woman in bed (we just see her legs) at 13 minutes. A meticulously designed frame. Actually looks more like Bela Tarr than Haneke. Another hallway shot later as we get just the audio of the child being beaten for his bad behavior
30 minutes in is the wheat shot jaw-dropper
The narrative is superb as well. Mysterious incidents. The Baron’s son missing, a laborer has an accident, suicides, torture– building… a film about death
Haneke keeps his trademark chilly distance in his shot length—mostly medium and medium-long shots
A really strong shot of the alley of the church at 65 minutes and then the winter trees at 68
A scene right out of Bergman’s Winter Light between the doctor and his assistant (who he is sleeping with). “You’re ugly, flabby and have bad breathe” and that’s the least of it.
Again with the voice-over and landscapes—a rigorous form like always from Haneke—winter montage at 86 minutes
Certainly in-line with Haneke’s philosophies on evil—- tie-ins to this generation of future Nazi children and the timeline with The Great War starting.
Haneke builds insulated worlds for his characters- a sort of monstrous dollhouse
Leering children in the frame—disturbing—it does make you think of Village of the Damned
Absolute perfection in the final shot – a magnificent frame at the church and then slowly fading to black. It’s not dissimilar from Cache’s final frame. No resolution.