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Film

The White Ribbon

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The White Ribbon

Directed by Michael Heneke

At MICA’s Brown Center’s Falvey Hall Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Set in a small German village just before the dawn of World War I, Austrian writer/director Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon becomes broad consideration of a community choking on itself. You’re a witness to events—a doctor is sabotaged, a child is beaten and left tied to a tree, a barn burns, the pastor’s pet bird is murdered—and you’re given only the suggestion of what they mean. All of it is relayed many years after the events through a narrator, the gentle and thoughtful schoolteacher, name unknown. The film could offer a view of Germany in miniature in its small village, which Haneke renders in black and white. What happened after was the horrific and futile World War I, which left Germany decimated and opened the door to fascism and all of its eventual horrors. And if fascism is the tyranny of the center, then White Ribbon delivers an ultrasound of fascism in the womb, told in Haneke’s stylistic precision and efficiency.

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