The White Ribbon

Directed by Michael Haneke (X-Filme Creative Pool)

Director Haneke (Funny Games) once again examines humanity’s capacity for cruelty with this story of a small village in pre-World War I Germany beset by unexplained accidents and violence. To his credit, and to the film’s immeasurable benefit, Haneke eschews his usual shock tactics for a more meditative approach, patiently showing how resentment, anger and viciousness are passed down from one generation---here represented by the families of a baron, a doctor, a pastor and a farmer---to the next, a gaggle of suspiciously sweet-faced urchins that call to mind a high-art Children of the Corn. Aided by Christian Berger’s black-and-white cinematography, which renders the bucolic countryside as bleak as the souls of its inhabitants, Haneke achieves a career highlight.

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