The White Ribbon (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Nov 10 2009

Michael Haneke’s extraordinary new film is a black-and-white ensemble piece set in a north German village on the eve of World War I. It’s a sombre, roving drama that recreates the rituals of a rural Protestant community and imagines the private lives of its householders – the doctor, the baron, the pastor – to show how hierarchical, patriarchal and even feudal such a community may have remained even as the guns were being primed on the Western Front.

It’s a film that’s broader in its focus and less direct in its efforts to shock and tease than 2005’s ‘Hidden’, the Austrian director’s last original film (if you skip his American remake of ‘Funny Games’ in 2007). Yet it also feels like a continuation of a sort of storytelling that he developed further with ‘Hidden’. In that film, the racial guilt of an entire nation was projected through Daniel Auteuil’s hunted Parisian intellectual, and here again Haneke sets a drama in one period to explore issues relating to another. ‘The White Ribbon’, too, is an open-ended mystery about a crime or crimes. However, while in ‘Hidden’ Haneke used the present to ponder its relationship with the past, here he does the opposite, using the past to reflect on that era’s future.

Crucially, ‘The White Ribbon’ is narrated by a man whose elderly voice suggests he’s relating events to us from the perspective of the 1960s or ’70s. In the film, he’s a sympathetic 31-year-old teacher who educates many of the children who creepily roam the village in packs and whom we see subjected to extreme discipline and punishment (and in one case, sexual abuse) at home. The teacher is not from the village, which probably gives him a more objective eye, but he’s present as a series of events occurs: a doctor’s horse is tripped up by a wire; a woman dies in a sawmill; a barn is set ablaze.

Our narrator suggests at the start that what we witness ‘may explain what came later’. Which, of course, this being a German story in 1913, turns the mind to fascism. One looks at the faces of the film’s large cast, especially its children, and wonders what would their relationship be to National Socialism? But to linger too long on such literal questions is an error. This is art, not science, and I don’t think that even Haneke, that most rational of filmmakers, believes one could trace a direct line from his village to the behaviour of a nation two decades later.

What he offers are merely suggestions as to why a people might turn to antisocial behaviour, whether it’s as local as sabotaging cabbages and assaulting a disabled child or as national as following a leader whom you assist in carrying out crimes in your name. I’d hesitate, too, to assume that Haneke is saying something specific about the German national character at this time. Let’s not forget the key role of shame in this film: even the ‘white ribbon’ of the title is a band tied around the arms of naughty children. Let’s not forget, too, that it was partly the shame forced on Germany by the rest of Europe that led to the terrible events of the 1930s and ’40s.

Faithful and striking historical reconstruction is evident throughout. The superb performances also lend a period authenticity to the film. Yet, there’s also something essentially modern about Haneke’s perspective: he peers into closed-off parlours and invades intimate moments (a father lectures a boy on masturbation, a child questions his sister about death) to suggest links between the psychology of domestic regimes and wider societal behaviour – links that few of these characters could have even conceived of in 1913. It’s Haneke’s investigative and quietly accusing contemporary eye that links repression in the home with corruption in the community beyond.

As a thriller, this is much more muted and subtle than ‘Hidden’. The result is that there’s more space for Haneke – and us – to consider the behaviour of his characters and the relationships between them. It’s his least aggressive and most mature film – a masterpiece from a director who is increasingly making a habit of them.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Nov 13, 2009

Duration:

145 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

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Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:8
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|35
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Uncle Bob

These reviews show that this film clearly divides opinion, and with good reason. There are no car chases, no big laughs and no music. There's not even a positive moral outcome to give you a warm fuzzy feeling at the end. It's just not that kind of film. It's a bleak objective telling of seemingly disparate events in a village in northern preWW1 Germany. The crimes in the story play a secondary role to the everyday evil behind closed doors, and the quiet fracturing of the little society. The setting and period are expertly created- a nuanced, haunting picture of old Protestant Germany..Some of the scenes stick like glue- an unforgettable film.

Uncle Bob

These reviews show that this film clearly divides opinion, and with good reason. There are no car chases, no big laughs and no music. There's not even a positive moral outcome to give you a warm fuzzy feeling at the end. It's just not that kind of film. It's a bleak objective telling of seemingly disparate events in a village in northern preWW1 Germany. The crimes in the story play a secondary role to the everyday evil behind closed doors, and the quiet fracturing of the little society. The setting and period are expertly created- a nuanced, haunting picture of old Protestant Germany..Some of the scenes stick like glue- an unforgettable film.

Robert Thornton

An everyday story of country folk, North Germany circa 1914. This film seemed to have elements from “The Crucible� and “village of the Damned� with homage to Ingmar Bergman’s early work. It was dour and depressing with the monochrome adding to a dream like non reality. It was a fly on the wall which was neither entertaining or satisfying. It’s conclusions seemingly were that society can be very cruel and can inflict a vengeance on other members of that society who may be different by class or by appearance, which can give rise to ethnic cleansing. The suppressed society was the culprit not individuals.

Les Reid

Andrew, I can´t understand why S&S has omitted the review by HK Miller. However, if you go to rottentomatoes.com and sort reviews by "Rotten" you will find some scathing critiques of Haneke´s film.

Liana

I still feel the anxiety and desperation of the events as they were evolving. The hypocritical pastor´s abuse of his children. the cruel doctor´s catharsis as he berates the midwife. I was on the verge of leaving the cinema. I several times. The torture was too long.

chris

While I too was frustrated by the lack of resolution (perhaps because we are so tied into the hollywood filmmaking mode that we cannot see beyond it?) there was an element from this film that nobody has mentioned. The accuracy of the manners of the people is spot on. In the countess I heard my grandmother's way of talking and in the strict adherence to form I felt echoes of how mum tried to bring us up. This is really what northern germany was like for many people a century ago.

chris

While I too was frustrated by the lack of resolution (perhaps because we are so tied into the hollywood filmmaking mode that we cannot see beyond it?) there was an element from this film that nobody has mentioned. The accuracy of the manners of the people is spot on. In the countess I heard my grandmother's way of talking and in the strict adherence to form I felt echoes of how mum tried to bring us up. This is really what northern germany was like for many people a century ago.

Andrew

Les Reid, can that review by HK Miller be found online? I only found a positive review by Catherine Weatley on the Sight & Sound website. Thanks. Otherwise I agree with the reviewers here who found the film pretentious and unconvincing in its "explanation" of fascism, as well as unengaging as drama. Hidden worked much better in its exposition of colonial and middle class guilt, and had a compelling narrative. Still thought-provoking, though.

Jeff

4 and 5 Stars--NO! As far as story and theme goes, this emperor has no clothes. Pull out that old copy of the "South Pacific" soundtrack and play "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" again for the same lesson in 2 minutes instead of two hours. Great cinematography and period piece, though.

SpecialK

I did not enjoy this film. The sadistic scenes are ultimately unresolved, and the storyline is inconclusive. The film did not develop, but just rambled on, with WW1 almost as an excuse to end the film.

davout

What a dreadful film. The film is disjointed, lacks a coherent purpose, and with no character development the audience is left completely disengaged . At best it's like watching outtakes from a Tarkovsky film, at worst a historical soap opera for a German Calvinist TV channel.

Dicky

As this film was long-ago Oscar nominated for best “Foreign Language Film� and “Cinematography�, I thought I might be the only person in the auditorium. But this is still a very popular film – Renoir (2) was nearly packed last night. . There’s no doubt it’s beautifully shot in black and white and, of course, set in a time long-gone. I felt the film was directed in slow-motion – nothing too quick or taxing for the audience. Like other reviewers of this film, I feel it’s long. . The stories are good, and the hierarchy of village life is very visible. The values depicted are very touching, as life has moved on a lot in the last hundred years, so I think you could say this was a sentimental portrayal. Some of the violence of village life is disturbing and all the more troubling as the police system didn’t exist as it does now. The injustice of village life for the poor is very evident. You feel desperately for the retarded boy, and the abused young girl, let alone the other victims of abuse. . Yes, a good film. But worthy of best “Foreign Language Film�? No, I don’t think so. (“A Prophet� is excellent, and didn’t feel anything like 2 hrs 30 mins.) Is “The White Ribbon� worthy of the best “Cinematography� award? Yes, probably, though “The Hurt Locker� is a must for anyone who hasn’t seen it. . I’m glad I’ve seen this film, but because it was so long (and arguably “drawn out�), I was relieved when it finally finished. I wish Haneke had tied up at least some of the storyline loose ends. I walked back to my car more concerned about the cold than thinking about the long film I'd just seen.

Peteboy

I persevered last night in watching this over long, slow, dull, overrated, contradictory, inconsistent & incomplete film. I'm struggling to comprehend why so many people admire this tosh. Emperor's new clothes? The worst I've had to sit through since Carry On Columbus.

Les Reid

The White Ribbon is like Heimat, but not as good. It pretends that it has something important to say about pre-war Germany, but it hasn't. The pre-war setting is simply an excuse for Haneke to indulge his predeliction for nasty sadistic scenes. I thought he had grown out of that when he made Hidden, but it seems not. My fellow sceptics should take heart from the review in Sight & Sound where HK Miller cuts through the pretentiousness to expose the cold egotism underneath.

usman latif khawaja

December 14th, 2009 4:36 amRating: a coherently incomplete account of human innocence Haneke fashions his fastidious and fascinating studies of human flaws irrelative of time and place ,as in white ribbon where though he relates the sinister and secretive community of saboteurs in a rather feckless german village with it's dystopian fluster ,he also is using it as a metaphor for entire humanity and all of the social vices and egregious milieu rife in europe on the eve of a major catastrophe . That WW1 is not a consequence of his devious GERMAN characters, but rather the degenerate and deranged characters that Europe in general bred in that era itself from lubeck to lombardy to london is quite manifest itself . As he begins his austere narrative with a village doctor who is almost murdered in a horse riding accident which seems a planned pre-meditated conspiracy ,he follows the vile act with a festering study of the social fabric and class strata that imbued the continent where an underground peasantry and it's fervent allies are engaged in a sinister cat and mouse game with the aristocracy and the intellectual professional class as a working class woman peasant is killed by accident while at workplace . He cleverly uses a schoolteacher as a narrator as he instructs and observes this clash of egos where malice and avarice is consumed by loathing and tyranny where even schoolchildren are part of the ugly equation . The baron and baroness and their power over the village is being challenged in a clandestine manner and it seems that the pastor and the peasants might be incriminated but it is an open equation where no one is innocent . The White Ribbon here stands for the purity of human intent and spiritual innocence and it becomes a mockery in a social structure where justice or morality is nihilistic and persecution and vengeance is the rule in a subersive society . The conversation between a young boy and his elder sister about the nature and inevititabe tragedy of life and death is genius ,where the boy learns the truth about existence and shows his frustration about existence itself in an extreme reaction . Every relationship here is riddled and shrouded in degenerate immorality from the aristocracy to the arrogant self-loathing professional village doctor and the tragic midwife who has a mentally handicapped son , and hints of incestuous relations between the so-called respectable citizens ,while teenage children are radically restrained and sexually oppressed to attain physical pleasure by physical restraint by religious zealots in name of god . The main protagonists are the teacher ,the pastor ,the doctor and the baron with their female counterparts playing their rather invisible roles in a male dominated masochist milieu . The peasants or workers here are shown as silent victims or as clandestine revolutionaries who torture young children on the other side of the fence and indulge in arson and destruction of property as a weak protest,which itself becomes a greater vice than their victimisation . Yet haneke portrays this in mystical images with pristine corn fields and puritan snow flakes with the spring and winter in prime and seasonal blooms and the script blossoms in a manner where art becomes a social comment in itself with monochrome images of ethereal beauty ,like the grey facade of the village church juxtaposed against the lush white snowy fields in a metaphor of the natural purity as opposed to human bigotry and bias in the bestial reality . This is more in conjunction with his movies like CODE UNKNOWN and Day of the Wolf ,rather than the character driven CACHE or Piano Player . It still is a very calm account of the turbulent events where world will change ,or at least Europe will forever and it heralds that equivocally in an intelligent and totally cerebral execution by a master of modern cinema . It is an individual work from his previous artistic endeavours ,and no less or more as all are meritorious in their own cadre . The fact human conscience of the perpetrator is aware and hurt by the psychological sequel of it's vices more than the victim, is the main message and the teacher conveys it rather like a clairvoyant as the village and it's inhabitants fade in the mists of time like the rest of humanity as the characters discuss in a key scene itself in a self-revelatory moment of exploring human conscience . The fact that the very human conscience is at stake here as it is now, makes this just as contemporary and timeless as the events and their impact on a tiny German village in 1916. – usman latif khawaja , havering,london,england

usman latif khawaja

December 14th, 2009 4:36 amRating: a coherently incomplete account of human innocence Haneke fashions his fastidious and fascinating studies of human flaws irrelative of time and place ,as in white ribbon where though he relates the sinister and secretive community of saboteurs in a rather feckless german village with it's dystopian fluster ,he also is using it as a metaphor for entire humanity and all of the social vices and egregious milieu rife in europe on the eve of a major catastrophe . That WW1 is not a consequence of his devious GERMAN characters, but rather the degenerate and deranged characters that Europe in general bred in that era itself from lubeck to lombardy to london is quite manifest itself . As he begins his austere narrative with a village doctor who is almost murdered in a horse riding accident which seems a planned pre-meditated conspiracy ,he follows the vile act with a festering study of the social fabric and class strata that imbued the continent where an underground peasantry and it's fervent allies are engaged in a sinister cat and mouse game with the aristocracy and the intellectual professional class as a working class woman peasant is killed by accident while at workplace . He cleverly uses a schoolteacher as a narrator as he instructs and observes this clash of egos where malice and avarice is consumed by loathing and tyranny where even schoolchildren are part of the ugly equation . The baron and baroness and their power over the village is being challenged in a clandestine manner and it seems that the pastor and the peasants might be incriminated but it is an open equation where no one is innocent . The White Ribbon here stands for the purity of human intent and spiritual innocence and it becomes a mockery in a social structure where justice or morality is nihilistic and persecution and vengeance is the rule in a subersive society . The conversation between a young boy and his elder sister about the nature and inevititabe tragedy of life and death is genius ,where the boy learns the truth about existence and shows his frustration about existence itself in an extreme reaction . Every relationship here is riddled and shrouded in degenerate immorality from the aristocracy to the arrogant self-loathing professional village doctor and the tragic midwife who has a mentally handicapped son , and hints of incestuous relations between the so-called respectable citizens ,while teenage children are radically restrained and sexually oppressed to attain physical pleasure by physical restraint by religious zealots in name of god . The main protagonists are the teacher ,the pastor ,the doctor and the baron with their female counterparts playing their rather invisible roles in a male dominated masochist milieu . The peasants or workers here are shown as silent victims or as clandestine revolutionaries who torture young children on the other side of the fence and indulge in arson and destruction of property as a weak protest,which itself becomes a greater vice than their victimisation . Yet haneke portrays this in mystical images with pristine corn fields and puritan snow flakes with the spring and winter in prime and seasonal blooms and the script blossoms in a manner where art becomes a social comment in itself with monochrome images of ethereal beauty ,like the grey facade of the village church juxtaposed against the lush white snowy fields in a metaphor of the natural purity as opposed to human bigotry and bias in the bestial reality . This is more in conjunction with his movies like CODE UNKNOWN and Day of the Wolf ,rather than the character driven CACHE or Piano Player . It still is a very calm account of the turbulent events where world will change ,or at least Europe will forever and it heralds that equivocally in an intelligent and totally cerebral execution by a master of modern cinema . It is an individual work from his previous artistic endeavours ,and no less or more as all are meritorious in their own cadre . The fact human conscience of the perpetrator is aware and hurt by the psychological sequel of it's vices more than the victim, is the main message and the teacher conveys it rather like a clairvoyant as the village and it's inhabitants fade in the mists of time like the rest of humanity as the characters discuss in a key scene itself in a self-revelatory moment of exploring human conscience . The fact that the very human conscience is at stake here as it is now, makes this just as contemporary and timeless as the events and their impact on a tiny German village in 1916. – usman latif khawaja , havering,london,england

Phil Ince

I didn't see the merit of this film and found it’s objective quite tiresome after the first hour or so. There is a cumulative effect of the diverse acts of violence so that the point it had to make was very clear - violence begets violence. But it didn't seem to do much more than make that point and the violence even became monotonous. As soon as we see the Baron's son near the pond, we know he's going to be pushed in. The only surprise in the scene is that he isn't drowned. However, the actual depiction is remarkable only for being so contrived. Sometimes the film seemed to me to duck depicting difficult scenes or events - the response of the pastor to his family when he discovers someone has gutted his pet bird with his scissors. We're shown so many other scenes in which he reproaches his family but the repercussions of this crucial moment are not shown to us and needed to be. As depicted, his discovery of the murdered bird is lifeless itself. The truth of the human behaviour depicted was questionable. Imagine yourself fishing from a woodland stream, the wood around you is quiet except for birdsong. You look up and see a boy walking along the handrail of a bridge. The bridge is high enough above the ground that he may be seriously hurt or even killed if he falls. Would your response be - in this quiet place and when the boy is unaware of your presence -to bellow his name at the top of your voice, to bellow it again as you run towards him and to hammer your way along the bridge towards the vulnerable boy you fear may be risking a deadly fall? Do you think your fear would make you raucous and startling to the boy or would it make you soft and cautious? Was this a clumsy film with quite a substantial element that was arbitrary and ineffectual?

Marianne McAleer

A heartbreaking and understated film that had me longing for revenge. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, appalled at the cruelty meted out to the children yet desperate to discover what happened to them. There was an incredible amount to discuss by the end. Patriarchy? No thankyou.

Marianne McAleer

A heartbreaking and understated film that had me longing for revenge. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, appalled at the cruelty meted out to the children yet desperate to discover what happened to them. There was an incredible amount to discuss by the end. Patriarchy? No thankyou.

fb

Not gonna add much to what has already been well said by other reviewers. Agree with all of what you wrote, Mark, other than your view that TWR was more about repressive patriarchy than a foretaste/forewarning of the political madness to come. By setting TWR in a village, it was too easy to see the abuse/violence as typical yokel behaviour - much more intriguing if the characters had been urban sophisticates, not pastoral inbreds (though, to be fair, most of the abuse seemed to be meted out by the more educated members of the community). David Glowacki, I understand the points you are making, though I never felt that scenes ended before they became interesting, as Haneke was adding brush strokes upon brush strokes to reveal his final vision. Totally agree with you on the characters looking very alike, though - the doctor's daughter (Anna), the schoolteacher's fiancee (Eva) and the pastor's daughter (Klara) might as well have been identical Aryan triplets! And Juliet, if you could've watched for another 2 1/2 hours, you'd've been in heaven at the Brixton Ritzy on Thur nite, as we got to watch the last 10 mins again cos the subtitles went a little on the blink! I was a bit disappointed when I heard that Haneke was going historical with the follow-up to "Hidden" (he has so very much that's interesting to say about the present), but TWR, despite its flaws, has only increased my admiration for the man many of us regard as the most vital film-maker of our age.

Chris

This is a serious film - and an excellent film too. The director manages to infuse the audience with exactly the type of unease that is experienced by many of the protaganists within the film which is quite a trick. The overriding sense at the end of the film is hmm - takes quite a time to digest, but ultimately as the Baron's wife says near the end the main theme is the cruelty, malice, envy and apathy that lies right at the heart of a community that is outwardly respectable at the start and the devastating impact that this has upon individuals within that community whose indignation is thoroughly repressed. Is this as good as Hidden - another great Haneke film. In a different way yes - you will leave the theatre reflecting for some time upon what you have just seen. Beautifully shot too - some of the scenes were like Ansel Adams at his best.

Chris

This is a serious film - and an excellent film too. The director manages to infuse the audience with exactly the type of unease that is experienced by many of the protaganists within the film which is quite a trick. The overriding sense at the end of the film is hmm - takes quite a time to digest, but ultimately as the Baron's wife says near the end the main theme is the cruelty, malice, envy and apathy that lies right at the heart of a community that is outwardly respectable at the start and the devastating impact that this has upon individuals within that community whose indignation is thoroughly repressed. Is this as good as Hidden - another great Haneke film. In a different way yes - you will leave the theatre reflecting for some time upon what you have just seen. Beautifully shot too - some of the scenes were like Ansel Adams at his best.

michael haneke

Ok so I’m going to make a movie in black and white, and I’m going to pace it deliberately slow, and I’m going to insert tangentially a few big historical events to arrogate a sense of gravitas, and I’m not going to confront any of the issues or tie anything off properly because that’s difficult, but I will use a single character narrator because that gives me a get-out clause for narrative holes and underexplained events, and everytime the audience thinks “I’m bored “ or “I’m frustrated� I’ll simply reply, “Ah but that’s the point, look look: it’s b/w - it’s aesthetic; it’s slow - it’s profound; it’s incomplete as a story - it’s intriguing; it touches on two world wars - it’s ... a masterpiece!� And guess what? All the critics will be led by the nose and sedulously repeat, “Ah yes, just like you told us, it’s a masterpiece.� Clever no?

Juliet

An incredible film which resonates still a week later. I could have sat tin the cinema for another 2 and a half hours.!

Juliet

An incredible film which resonates still a week later. I could have sat tin the cinema for another 2 and a half hours.!

Marco

The pace of the movie suits the time and place where it takes place. I thought it was very good

Marco

The pace of the movie suits the time and place where it takes place. I thought it was very good

david glowacki

A good film but not a great one.Portrayal of Lutherian strict village life in pre ww1 Germany is intriquing.The big flaw is that every time a scene gets really interesting,the director moves on to another scene with another group without any real conclusion.We never know why or what about anything.Even the ending is a rushed conclusion with a lot left open ended.There are far too many children in the film and it is difficult to remember in each scene who belongs to which family.To compound it, they all look alike.It left me a bit annoyed and a bit irraitated.There is no need to have it in black and white.The severity of the lifestyles would still have been effective and as far as l know colour did exist in 1914.So why am l giving it 4 stars?Because of intrique,and mystery and the hold it has over the cinema goer.It has many fine moments,but the director's reluctance to truly reveal anything within the plot is a bit of a failure

Rob

Good lord, talk about high praise. Unfortunately this mono-paced collection of scenes featuring mildly intriguing characters is not going to set the movie world alight. Does it have anything to say about pre war German village life and the psyche of its inhabitants? Not really, much like Children of the Corn doesn't tell us about the inhabitants of Nebraska. Whatever message it wishes to tell gets snubbed out early on as the tale meanders between one simmering moment in a villagers house to the next, without any dramatic effect on the story. In the end only the narrator gives us any real clue as to what direction the film is taking, and as far as visual storytelling goes that's always an admission of failure.

mark

I was astounded by Hidden which I still think is the only effective film made so far about the West's confrontation with 'the East' and thought that the White Ribbon surely couldnt live up to my expectations. Haneke makes films with such depth - you can read this as having some relation to Nazism, but for me it was a film about the effects of a repressive patriachal society in general, and the particular expression of this through child abuse and the abuse of women. The death of Archduke Ferdinand announced towards the end of the film seems to be the logical culmination of all the repressed pain - so eloquently described by the midwife - in a scene which is the oral equivalent of the physical horror in Hidden. So much for the golden age when everyone knew their place and there was respect for authority! One of the characters compares his scything of the cabbages to what he would like to do to the heads of those in power in the village. As in Hidden, Haneke seems to me to be saying we live in a false paradise if we take part in abuse or become complicit in it (in the sense of living in a prvileged Western society which accepts the exploitation and lack of prviledge of much of the rest of the world) and expect there will be no consequences. A dark, dark, message, but in a world where the truth is in very short supply, the intellectual power of this film is extraordinary.

mark

I was astounded by Hidden which I still think is the only effective film made so far about the West's confrontation with 'the East' and thought that the White Ribbon surely couldnt live up to my expectations. Haneke makes films with such depth - you can read this as having some relation to Nazism, but for me it was a film about the effects of a repressive patriachal society in general, and the particular expression of this through child abuse and the abuse of women. The death of Archduke Ferdinand announced towards the end of the film seems to be the logical culmination of all the repressed pain - so eloquently described by the midwife - in a scene which is the oral equivalent of the physical horror in Hidden. So much for the golden age when everyone knew their place and there was respect for authority! One of the characters compares his scything of the cabbages to what he would like to do to the heads of those in power in the village. As in Hidden, Haneke seems to me to be saying we live in a false paradise if we take part in abuse or become complicit in it (in the sense of living in a prvileged Western society which accepts the exploitation and lack of prviledge of much of the rest of the world) and expect there will be no consequences. A dark, dark, message, but in a world where the truth is in very short supply, the intellectual power of this film is extraordinary.

Emilia

The film puts more questions than answers... (The Reviewer D.Calhoun caught it right.) Makes you think. Excellent actors and attention to detail, NO music (except from piano plays), so that it's difficult to believe it has been shot in the XXI century. The relationships between people are extremely strict to us and indeed often unhealthy/derailed. Are they derailed because trying to strictly follow a Christian moral code they lost love and came away from God?...