Archive of films The White Ribbon / Das weisse Band

Germany / Austria / France / Italy
2009, 144 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2009

On the eve of the First World War, strange, unexplained events occur in a German town in the Protestant north. It appears to be some kind of ritualistic punishment, but why and for what? And what role do the local pastor’s adolescent kids play? Renowned director Michael Haneke’s movies never offer easy answers. The film won a highly-deserved Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes festival.


Shortly before World War I, strange accidents begin occurring in a town somewhere in northern Germany, and the residents are at a loss to explain them. Who strung a wire across the road causing the local doctor to fall from his horse? Who bound and beat up the baron’s son? Who practically blinded someone’s child? Questions abound and neither the villagers nor the Protestant pastor have any answers. The people here live hand-to-mouth, the majority in the service of the manor, and all of them lead orderly lives – at least that’s what they believe. The pastor carefully sees to the raising of his seven children: his authoritarian system of praise and punishment is firmly grounded in logic, and he treats his parishioners with equal rigor. On the outside, the other families seem just as well ordered, and yet these strange incidents stir the feeling that they are manifestations of envy, revenge, or even some incomprehensible effort to punish someone. Michael Haneke is a master at creating a near horror-like atmosphere of anxiety, and although this time around he doesn’t make the viewer a direct witness to violence and cruelty, his near-perfect black-and-white film evokes claustrophobic feelings of uneasiness and indeterminate fear.

About the director

Michael Haneke (b. 1942, Munich) studied philosophy, psychology, and theater science in Vienna. In 1967-70 he worked for German TV. After a number of made-for-TV movies, he shot the trilogy The Seventh Continent (Der siebente Kontinent, 1988), Benny’s Video (1992), and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zuffalls, 1994), in which he depicts alienated individuals by means of their frustrations, and analyzes the relationship between violence and modern media. A pessimistic view of humankind marks his other films as well: The Castle (Das Schloss, 1997), Funny Games (1997), Code Unknown (Code inconnu, 2000), The Piano Teacher (La pianiste, 2001), The Time of the Wolf (Le temps du loup, 2003), and Hidden (Caché, 2005). In 2008 he remade Funny Games in the USA.


Les Films du Losange
22, Avenue Pierre ler de Serbie, 750 16, Paris
Tel: +33 144 438 724

Artcam Films
Rašínovo nábřeží 6, 128 00, Praha 2
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 221 411 619
Fax: +420 221 411 699

About the film

Black & white, HD CAM

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Michael Haneke
Screenplay: Michael Haneke
Dir. of Photography: Christian Berger
Editor: Monika Willi
Producer: Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Margaret Menegoz, Andrea Occhipinti
Production: X Filme Creative Pool, Wega Film, Les Films du Losange, Lucky Red
Cast: Christian Friedel, Burghart Klaussner, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi, Leonie Benesch, Ernst Jacobi
Contact: Les Films du Losange, Artcam Films
Distributor: Artcam Films


Přemysl Martinek

Festival Organizer, Film Institution Rep.

Artemio Benki

Producer, Distributor, Film Director

Thomas Petit


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