I finally got round to seeing Haneke’s amazing and painful White Ribbon. The quiet rural, feudal life is repeatedly unsettled by events. Some have a clear cause and others are left a mystery. uncomfortable relationships are everywhere, so the gentle courtship between a nanny and the school teacher is a comfort. Though the teachers status is ambiguous as he is the narrator the film, in some future, post war time.
Bradshaw in the Guardian sees the power relationships and the brutal patriarchy at play, as well as gentle humour. He concludes:
“In the end, there is no solution to the mystery; it could be that history and human agency are unknowable, untreatable, or it could be that the Nazi generation grew up with unexpired resentment and the frustration of not getting a solution – and the director wishes us to hear the malign echoes of that word. This is a profoundly disquieting movie, superbly acted and directed. Its sinister riddle glitters more fiercely each time I watch it.”
“What are the lessons we’re meant to draw from the film, Haneker’s first in German for over a decade? One is surely about the brutality of a certain kind of authoritarian male: some of the scenes in which the Doctor talks down to his female colleague display levels of cold misogyny that will have viewers blanching”