This is a movie that you need to let sink in for a while after you finish watching. At first the movie might feel like a bit of a redundant one, since it doesn't really tie things up by the end and it's a quite slow and long sit, though the movie in fact is just over 2 hours, end credits not included. However the more you start thinking about this movie afterward, the more you start to appreciate it and also start to see- and better understand the grand scheme of things.

The movie can be seen as director and writer Michael Haneke's views on the origins or fascism, at the start of the 20th century, in Germany. Not saying that the small town depicted in this movie is supposed to be the source of all evil but what the movie does is slowly but above all things subtly showing how years of abuse and oppression can lead to dangerous thoughts and actions. I can't really say how realistic this all is, since honestly it seemed all a bit far fetched to me but then again, I'm not an expert of German history and was clearly also not around at the time. It's supposedly based on true events all, so there at least must be some truth behind it all.

But if you believe there be some truth in the story or not doesn't matter that much, since while watching this movie you'll still remain fascinated by it all and get sucked in by the movie its slow story-telling. What I really like about the story but especially its storytelling was that it never really wrapped up things or clarified just everything. It's a movie that probably leaves more questions than answers, which forces you to think about things and fill in all of the blanks for yourself. It makes "Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte" a very thought provoking movie.

It's not the sort of movie you see an awful lot of now days. It's the sort of movie that reminds you of Ingmar Bergman's work and neorealistic movies from Italy, from the '40's and '50's. Movies that are like a random slice of life, with featuring everyday persons in it, doing everyday things, facing everyday's struggles and problems in life. Those movies are also often set in small towns or communities, just like this movie. I'm glad there are still persons doing movies like this and it makes me even happier that they are being appreciated and successful as well. This movie even received an Oscar nomination for best foreign picture of the year, as well as one for its cinematography.

And it's not hard to see really why Christian Berger's camera-work for this movie is so much praised. I have to say, I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful shot modern black & white movie, at least not in recent years. Hard to say what it is but the black & white makes this movie so much more clear than color could had ever achieved. Besides it suits- and enhances the movie its overall atmosphere.

Yet another real great and unique 21th century German movie achievement.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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