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Afrojacks Movie Review: The White Ribbon

17 Feb, 2010 Movie Reviews
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Afrojacks Movie Review: The White Ribbon

The Oscar nominations are now out and whether or not I agree with them is meaningless, what’s most important is winning my office Oscar pool.  This is important for a few reasons, a) its highly competitive and therefore good times, b) I can win a solid stack of duckets but I’d be happy to just play for pride, and c) for whatever reason, I’m consistently in the running.  Two years ago I won it all and last year I lost in a heartbreaking tie breaker which I call bullshit on but that’s besides the matter.  I’ve now pinpointed my weaknesses in the ballads and it breaks down to short films and foreign films.  This is because most of the foreign films aren’t released in the US yet and I could care less about the shorts.  This year however, two films that are in heavy contention for the best foreign movie have been released in the US (in NYC at least anyway, not sure about where else) - Ajami and The White Ribbon, and being The White Ribbon is up for best cinematography and I could only see one that day, I was all in for The White Ribbon.

Now if you don’t know anything about The White Ribbon, its by Michael Haneke who did the critically acclaimed stalker thriller Cache and both versions of ultra violent Funny Games (German ’97 and American ’08) which if you saw either you’d notice a lot of similar cinematography teqhniques in this.  In short, the white ribbon is the story of a year in an Austrian village just before WWI in which a series of mysterious and violent events (kids go missing and are found beaten, a village house is burned down, etc) leave the God fearing overly and often inappropriately strict parents of the village pointing fingers at each other and often guessing “who dun it?” with out ever thinking/dreaming it might be a few of the creepy kids who have had enough of them.

If you liked the long, drawn out, single shot scenes used in Henke’s other work then The White Ribbon’s use of this technique plus the lack of any music, it being in black and white and the Children of the Corn esq creepy, dead-behind-the-eye’d kids will really give you a creep show boner.  It creates the illusion of drama that may not have otherwise been there but it also slows down and really quiets the film which is already pretty slow.  The White Ribbon is definitely unique and also pretty beautiful but not incredibly impressive as a whole and I don’t expect it to win best foreign picture nor do I really think it should (the hype is all around Ajami).  Then again, no one liked or expected the Japanese Departures to win the foreign category last year so who the hell knows?

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