Michael Haneke’s “White Ribbon”

Michael Haneke’s “White Ribbon”

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austrian writer and director michael haneke’s new film, the white ribbon, likely to be the best film of 2009 unseen by most people.  haneke is easily one of the smartest and most incisive filmmakers working today and his 2005 film cache is a worthy indicator of the reason:   his films resonate long after viewing because he presents well-developed stories and characters bound by political themes, often told in a postmodern structure which has no tidy ending or explanation.  cache followed one family’s unravelling as the husband’s childhood crime followed him over decades, haunting, implicating and terrorizing his family for the distance he tried to put between himself, his guilt and the wronged party, finally escalating in a violent act the further fallout of which is never revealed, only hinted at by the film’s close.  a.o. scott describes “the white ribbon” as a “study of child abuse, class resentment and incipient fascism,” and haneke has already been awarded the palme d’or at cannes, an international critics prize and a cinema film award;  it is being hailed as his masterpiece.

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