The White Ribbon

This entry has nothing to do with English, French or translation. I just really want to share a film that I saw at the weekend. Once again, it’s directed by Michael Haneke, who is fast becoming my favorite director. After Caché, a powerful portrayal of France’s colonial guilt, The White Ribbon (Das Weiße Band) (2009) is an amazing study of the decomposition of a repressive, hypocritical society where power is concentrated in a few hands. Visually, it’s incredible. In these times dominated by multi-million pound computer generated effects with bright colours and supernatural landscapes, it is wonderful to be reminded how expressive, subtle and stunningly beautiful a black and white film can be. I could go on and on, but this Guardian review encapsulates it perfectly.

By |2016-10-18T15:48:56+00:00February 8th, 2010|Culture|6 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Charlotte February 8, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Céline,
    I saw it last week. I found it was a bit sick at times, and the atmosphere is really claustrophobic. The priest role is pretty scary! The end shows pure Haneke style… 😉
    Some elements reminded me of “Caché” (I think we had a discussion about this one on your blog too?). Anyway, I really liked it.

  2. céline February 9, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Very different from Caché too though, I think you’ll agree. Must watch his other films.

  3. Paulus February 9, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I loved it. I see the purity of human intent and spiritual innocence but that becomes a mockery in a social structure where justice or morality is nihilistic and persecution and vengeance is the society’s rule. Every relationship is riddled and shrouded in degenerate immorality from the aristocracy to the arrogant self-loathing doctor and the tragic midwife and hints of incestuous relations between the so-called respectable citizens, while radically restrained and sexually oppressed teenage children unconsciously tear apart their corrupt community’s fragile and fraudulent tranquility. And the nanny was really fit.

  4. céline February 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Forget the Guardian, this is a much better review. Although I would question one thing: I’m not sure the children unconsciously tear apart their community. I think they know exactly what they’re doing.

  5. Weronika February 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I just found your blog by accident – looking for any translators’ blogs. I have recently read an interview with Haneke, in which he described his general intent of making his films what you can call “sick”. He simply wants to reminds the viewers of what the things trivialised by media and by film industry are really like. Haven’t seen this one yet but I’m still hoping to – especially after your review. And the winter landscape in the trailer is simply breathtaking.

  6. Xavier Kreiss February 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I hadn’t heard of it, but now I’ll be looking out for it.
    It looks dark, perhaps, but fascinating.
    And a good way of brushing up one’s German!

Comments are closed.