The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke’s Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee The White Ribbon is a deliberate and probing look at life in a provincial German village in the year leading up to World War I. The devout Protestant town of Eichwald is beset by a rash of cruel and pointless acts of terrorism—the local doctor’s horse is tripped by invisible wire; the most helpless of the children are stolen and beaten; a barn is set ablaze—that more and more seem like the product of browbeaten and vengeful children. Strangely enough, the townspeople (and Haneke) seem only marginally interested in solving these mysteries, mainly because they have secrets of their own to conceal. Alternately fascinating and intentionally frustrating, The White Ribbon shows how hypocritical parenting that demanded conformity and punished weakness helped to rear an entire generation of sadistic fascists.