Tags: Burghart Klaußner, Christian Friedel, Eddy Grahl, Enno Trebs, Ernst Jacobi, Fion Mutert, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Janina Fautz, Johanna Busse, Josef Bierbichler, Leonard Proxauf, Leonie Benesch, Levin Henning, Maria-Victoria Dragus, Michael Haneke, Michael Kranz, Miljan Chatelain, Rainer Bock, Roxane Duran, Sony, Steffi Kuhnert, Susanne Lothar, Theo Trebs, Thibault Sérié, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi
has an average rating of 8.0 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
GERMAN DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are only in SD but still worthwhile
– 101 minutes
This uses 33.9GB for the movie out of 45.0GB total.
Overall Verdict – Choice Film, Pleasing Disc
— Review written by: Danielle Byington —
The Movie Itself was Directed and Written by Michael Haneke.
The movie takes place in the early 1900′s in a small village in Germany. The story is narrated by an elderly man (Ernst Jacobi) recollecting the unusual events of the town’s past where he was a school teacher (Christian Friedel). Things begin with the mysterious presence of a wire being placed to intentionally trip the Doctor while riding on his horse, the death of a farmer’s wife, and children being beaten and left to be found. Around these horrible events, the drama of several situations tie-in together and fill the storyline.
Viewing the provided supplements on this release is a great mixer to gaining a better understanding of just what the Director intended to executed with this film. His opinions within this film were to express the birth of radicalism in a very particular form, as the primary subject of the storyline involves guilty children of an early 1900′s world making a stand against the old ideals pressed upon them by those they are taught to respect. The authoritative figures they are to mind talk a line of strict religion, though do not walk it, thus the minds of the village youth are basically acting out in violence against the hypocrisy they are being preached.
Also discussed by Haneke, he does not intend for audiences of any specific location to feel like the content is “foreign”; though set in Germany, the subject matter can translate into any culture, country, or time period. This is an excellent point to make, as the theme of the film is alone a very strong one, and not to be taken lightly as simply an unusual occurrence in a small German village decades ago. In many ways, the movie says a lot about the need for revolutions, no matter on what level.
Haneke‘s use of a Pastor’s children possibly being the culprits makes the loudest statement out of all other scenarios in the film. As the Director further discusses in the supplements his research of the time period, he mentions reading books relevant to what was considered ideal (around the 1910′s) and proper in raising and disciplining children. This is the origin of the film’s title, as the use of a “white ribbon” was a predominantly mentioned tool applied to misbehaving children; it was tied onto children like a decorative ornament intended to remind them to remain innocent. However, in the movie, and even in today’s society, the “preachers” are the ones who are most in need of adorning a “white ribbon”.
On the note of bizarre childcare, more disturbing and aggressive forms of yielding well-mannered young citizens to a hypocritical parent’s delight are stitched into the early 1900′s set story. For example, the village Pastor suspects his son of masturbating, and frightens him with a tale of another young boy who did the same, and because of it, developed blisters all over his body, and shriveled up like an old man and died within a year from pleasuring himself. This movie may be fictional, but content such as the example just described exists to various degrees even now, and this is the direction Haneke is trying to guide audiences; populations are controlled by scare-tactics. Within the film, the Baron of this small German town was respected, not because anyone liked him, but because he owned everything and controlled who worked and who did not. Not regarding cinema, does this sound familiar?
In closing, there are many films out there that weave politics into some sort of symbolism found through a storyline that to the untrained eye, seems totally irrelevant. Not that anyone expressing their opinions through the art of cinema has not hit the nail on the head, but this film is definitely one of the mighty ones. Haneke has discussed his previous intentions to make this story a 3-part television miniseries, and it is nearly disappointing that it did not have the opportunity to receive a larger vessel to convey its message. In conjunction with the appointed symbolism, the fracture-storylines of the film all add-up to a multi-watch final product, with so much depth within the story for one’s mind to unravel and translate, overall demanding a “5 Star Rating“.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The Director has discussed his choice to present this film in Black & White as his means of symbolizing that the story is the recollection and memories of the narrator. This has proven to be a visually beautiful choice for the 2009 film, as within its High Definition presentation, a nearly surreal movie experience is further created, and the appropriate mood further set for this monotoned featured. Paired with the setting and content, the choice of Black & White creates an aged feel for the young film, an essence that not just any filmmaker could pull-off.
Despite this absence of vivid colors, the spectrum of grays within the release’s video presentation are well separated and defined from similar hues, standing amongst a moderately sharp picture that provides an inky black level for the deepest of darks, and lends distinguishable definition to subjects and their material outlines and shadows. Having been shot on 35MM, and coming from a digital intermediate 2K source, a mild amount film grain still exists, though is not overwhelming in nature, and certainly does not cloud the impressive amount of detail that the release offers. Strands of hair, textures of physical facial features, as well as the wardrobe, are all undoubtedly detectable.
Though the visibility of fine details does slightly fluctuate with lighting situations, the brightness of lighter hues within the monotone color palette provides a visual “pop” with the exterior daytime scenes. The cinematography’s capture of the arranged blocking makes for beautiful stills throughout, with for example, characters adorned in dark wardrobe amongst bright light-colored set designs, all exhibiting the nice contrast yielded to the release’s video presentation. Overall, the video quality of “The White Ribbon” on Blu-ray is a uniquely pleasing High Definition demonstration of how superb a modern Black & White film can look on the format, earning a “4.5 Star Rating“.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in German DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, as well as a dubbed English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. Within the play of the German track, there is not an overwhelming strong presence from the score on this release due to the content; mostly the music pays its due with the sounds of a choir sparsely throughout. There are, however, other instances of musical instruments being played by characters within the story, such the Baroness and the Tutor at the piano and flute, respectively, and another brief scene involving a flute whittled from a reed by one of the young boys of the villages; these short scenes exhibit the notes of their respective instrument brightly for what they are. Other cases of ear-catching Foley are also subtle for the most part, though stand out as what is considerably some of the only large audible rises due to the nature of the story’s material. For example, the thud of the Doctor’s horse crashing to the ground in the beginning of the film, a loud crash of a dish pushed off of a table, and more notably, the sound of farmers cutting the harvest in continuous unison, lending a detailed sound effect of their blades wooshing back and forth through the dry wheat.
The majority of this audio track’s performance provides only subtle rear channel presence, mostly from environmental sound effects, such as gusting wind, and chirping wildlife. Deeper tones remain fairly absent in the life of the subwoofer, and above all channels of the 5.1 setup the front channels convey the most action; most significantly the dialogue, which is primarily heard from the center front channel. Overall, the sound provided by the German DTS track does what it can with the gentle content, really presenting itself free of major flaws, and in the end is worthy of a “4 Star Rating“.
Bonus materials are presented in Standard Definition, using Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, with the exclusion of the Theatrical Trailer in Hi-Def and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.
- “Making of ‘The White Ribbon‘” (38:50)
- “My Life” (50:09)
- “Cannes Film Festival Premiere” (18:36)
- “An Interview With Michael Haneke” (14:08)
- “Theatrical Trailer” (2:22)
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.