The white band

The white band
               Genre: Drama
  At first glance it almost looks as if here were old pictures and postcards from the past that we call awake too erinnerungsselig likes to call “the good old days” back to life. The black and white photographs with sepia tone photos (impressively filmed by Christian Berger), which tells Michael Haneke, a small village in northern Germany in the years 1913 and 1914, contribute nearly as idyllic as the deceptive Subtitle “A German children’s story”. Haneke But who knows, who knows that nostalgia and idealization are his thing.

It all starts so innocently: A picturesque village somewhere in Mecklenburg, images of swaying cornfields and clouds move rapidly across the sky. To this end, the protagonist of this story, which appears as a conglomeration of all those who have the say in communities like these: The landowner (Ulrich Tukur), teachers (Christian Friedel), the doctor (Rainer Bock) and the Protestant pastor (Burghart Klaussner ), the manager (Josef Bierbichler) and all the farmers here, far away to pursue the industrialization of their work. Women have less appeal to here, you can tell it quickly. And children have to obey this, they will be humiliated, abused, systematically trim with a riding crop and Bible on submission and obedience. What seemed at first glance like a rural idyll that quickly reveals itself as a coercive power, as a network of dependencies, oppression and violence that will be distributed according to the power structure from top to bottom. But then accumulate mysterious events, which is the established structures of abusive use of power and run counter to: First, the horse doctor plunges through a nearly invisible rope, the rider has significant injuries, then severely beaten by the son of Baron unknown. Then the barn is burning down the farm and a disabled child’s eyes are gouged out. It quickly becomes clear that these attacks must be committed to the familiar structures of a perpetrator from the community itself. But who is the monster, whose doings the natural hierarchies in such vile ways calls into question?

What kind of film: Michael Haneke’s latest work, The White Band – A German children’s story is without a doubt one of the films well over the years to keep inventory and relevance. Even if it does not work at the Oscars – the film will leave as a German entry into the race – this is perhaps the most important film in any case very impressive career Haneke. And that is all the more surprising because Haneke entering uncharted territory here, and first time making a film that is set in the past. But perhaps therein lies precisely the trick: Despite the close anchor at a certain place and at a certain time, this story is designed to be as much as a moral parable that adjust the links to the present day all by themselves. Similarly, one can obviously see this film as a study of the emergence of Nazism, while the story has such a generality that it could be located in almost every “civilized” society.

Is too much else unusual about the white band: while earlier in his film was always a moment of shock, while the evil suddenly destroyed, the apparent idyll that this happens gradually and acts like a slow poison to The firm in faith-knit community made. And where it often in Haneke’s earlier films was a remnant of the inexplicable, a mystery, which heralded the unpredictability of evil, these remain difficult times have questions, come as violence and the horror of war, destruction and fascism in the world. The question of the perpetrators of the terrible atrocities, gets caught perfectly in the background – because in a rigid community like this, anyone can be a killer. Thus, although we suspect the end the truth – even if the narrative voice at the beginning of this film even admits that she did not know whether history would correspond in every detail of the truth. But this is after 145 minutes in any case no longer relevant. Since the satisfaction of a “resolution” of the case because of the power structures and the consequences would be a profoundly unsatisfactory anyway.

Haneke’s diagnosis of the world is devastating. And they are both pure historically precise description of a village on the eve of World War I as well as in relation to the overall social context of alarming precision. In a heartless society that seeks to tame and control it all, spreading the seeds of evil, violent and inhumane and prepares the ground for wars, totalitarian regimes and chaos.

Intrude Where parallels to the here and now is certainly, if we look around and look closely, which is currently taking place in our society in turmoil and control trials, we suspect that this work not only to the period before the outbreak World War I is limited. That the seed of evil is still falling on fertile ground. And that makes it crystal clear and frightening parable about a work full of truth and horror. How awful. And how fortunate that someone like Michael Haneke look closely and has made such a compelling film from it. Whether we can learn from something, which in turn is an entirely different matter.

(Joachim Kurz)

Title: The White Band Country of production min: France, Germany, Italy, Austria Year of production: 2009 Length: 145 ( ) of material: X-Hire

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