FROM MTV.COM: German director Michael Haneke may be the world's chilliest filmmaker since Stanley Kubrick, who relinquished the title along with his life. Haneke's latest movie, "The White Ribbon," already festooned with prizes from Cannes to the Golden Globes, shows little sign of a warming trend in his work; but it does offer some of the pleasures of genre storytelling — at least until the end, when the director lobs the tale back into our laps to make of it what we will (which doesn't require a lot of pondering).
The picture suggests a sardonic reworking of the 1960 alien-invasion classic, "Village of the Damned." It's set in a remote village in Northern Germany in 1913, on the eve of World War I. Eichwald is a place of near-feudal social arrangement and harsh Protestant rigor. The land is presided over by a baron whose extensive fields provide sustenance for the local peasants; they in turn are tended by a kindly village doctor, an earnest young schoolteacher and a minister of monumental Christian rectitude. A timeless placidity reigns over the deep structures of communal order.
Continue reading 'The White Ribbon': Children's Hour, By Kurt Loder