Trailer Review: As the 2009 winner of the Palm D’Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival, The White Ribbon is the latest film from the envelope-pushing, Austrian director Michael Haneke. Set in rural Germany in the months just prior to the First World War, The White Ribbon is an arresting tale that propounds fascinating questions concerning the ecosystem of violence and the roots of Nazism.
Shot in glacial black and white, the film explores the quiet lives of austere, German villagers living in a feudal society, who have recently been plagued by a series of inexplicable atrocities. From unsettled beatings to arcane suicides, as the film progresses, the incidents become increasingly disturbing, and it is implicated that the village children may be the perpetrators of the mysterious crimes.
The trailer opens with a troubled, young girl pacing around the perimeter of an oppressive sitting room, while the detached voice of a narrator eerily poses questions concerning four specific instances of malice. With The White Ribbon, the trailer’s main purpose is mood setting, and from the opening sequence, a palpable sense of unease and impending doom is firmly established, giving rise to a perturbed, suffocating feeling – kind of like being inside a coffin.
Several seemingly buoyant scenes are interspersed into the trailer, like a quick shot of a smiling, little towhead ascending the steps of a church and a clip of a children’s choir singing in a church. Yet, rather than serving to add a little milk to this double shot of espresso kind of film, these ostensibly blissful instances give the film a distinct “Children of the Corn” flavor.
Religion appears to be a central theme of this film, but living in a repressed patriarchal society, the roles of God and father figure are amalgamated. This generates a societal structure where absolutism is taught as an ideal that accordingly plants the seeds for terrorism against anyone who does not comply with the same dogma. The trailer does a shrewd job of setting up The White Ribbon to play as a claustrophobic anti-fairytale where innocence and virtue serve as a façade to cover the underlying layers of lurking malevolence.
Check out the trailer for The White Ribbon. What do you think?