Das weiße Band @ Cedar Lee Theater

Members of the German Language Meet Up are invited to join with the Independent Movie Group to see the award-winning German film, Das weiße Band on Sunday, March 7th. The film has won many prestigious international honors and is favored to win the Oscar® for Best Foreign Film.

Das weiße Band - Eine Deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009)
The White Ribbon (2009)

Sunday, March 7 at 4:50 p.m. at Cedar Lee Theater
genre: Drama, Horror
Black & White: 144 minutes – 2 hours and 24 minutes
In German with English subtitles
director: Michael Haneke
Rated R for some disturbing content involving violence and sexuality.


The film's title refers to the loss of innocence. Crisply shot in black and white, the film is set in a fictional rural German village just prior to World War I. Voiced by an old man (Ernst Jacobi) who used to be the village schoolteacher, the story reveals mysterious goings-on.

A doctor falls off his horse, apparently tripped by a rigged wire. The son of the local baron is found beaten. A barn is burned down. So, who is to blame?

As the war approaches, suspicion begins to escalate, perhaps presaging Germany's next 30 years.

The White Ribbon (German: Das weiße Band ) focuses on the children in a village in northern Germany just before World War I. According to Haneke, the film is about "the origin of every type of terrorism, be it of political or religious nature."

It premiered at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in May 2009 and won the Palme d'Or. This has been followed by positive reviews and several other major awards, including the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The White Ribbon has been nominated for two Oscar® including Best Foreign Language Film (Germany) and Best Cinematography. 87 percent on the infamous Tomatometer.

4:50 p.m. the Movie - The White Ribbon at Cleveland Cinemas - Cedar Lee Theater, 2163 Lee Road and Cedar, Cleveland Heights. Meet at the entrance door 15 minutes ahead of time or look for the group inside the theater. We will sit in the upper level, center. The flick is 144 minutes, so expect to be out around 7:20 p.m. You may also meet us afterward outside under the marque. If you RSVP, we will wait for you. If you do not have a photo posted, you will have to find us.

PARKING: Paid Parking is now 24 X 7, so bring a couple of quarters. Credit cards work in the garage but at times, the line to pay can delay your arrival at the show. Plan on an early arrival. Many members park at a free city parking lot on Edgewood Road at the corner of Cedar, one block west of Lee Road.

7:30 p.m. Dinner & Discussion – the After-Party @ Jimmy O’Neill’s Tavern
Considering the length of the film – nearly 2½ hours - we’ll meet for dinner after the film at Jimmy O’Neill’s Tavern, 2195 Lee Road, 216.321.1116. It’s just a 1-minute walk south of the theater on Lee Road. Jimmy offers a fine menu selection ranging from sandwiches and burgers to excellent entrées including Lake Erie Perch and a daily selection of specials that may include Irish Seafood Stew or Corned Beef and Cabbage. There are also vegetarian offerings.

Please indicate “Dinner” on your RSVP so that we can reserve a seat for you at the table.

Speaking of the Oscars, Jimmy O’Neill called on Monday to say that he has made plans to have televisions near our table for the after-party so that we can watch the Red Carpet telecast and the awards as well. He does have TV’s in the tavern but never with sound. He’ll turn the audio on for us!

If you prefer to watch the ceremony alone and in private, we’ll be out of the theater by 7:30 p.m. in plenty of time to bolt home. Academy Awards telecast and Oscar® presentations will be on ABC (WEWS-TV5) starting at 8 p.m. EST. Many of us will set the DVR and enjoy the after-movie discussion.


This is not Jimmy’s beet harvest!

The After Party @ Jimmy O'Neill’s Tavern (after movie discussions) After the film - Irish beer and a spirited and insightful discussion. Jimmy has promised a plentiful supply of his famous Beet Cake for those that may be so disposed. Some may think that since beets grow underground they should stay there, so we’ll just call it Dark Chocolate Cake instead.

Plot – Synopsis
Warning! This synopsis contains spoilers
The events portrayed in the film are narrated as distant memories of the village schoolteacher.

The setting is the mythical Protestant village of Eichwald, Germany between July 1913 and 10 August, 1914. Here the pastor, the doctor and the baron rule the roost over women, children and peasant farmers. The puritanical pastor gives confirmation classes and causes his pubescent children to have guilty consciences over trivial offenses. He makes them wear white ribbons of purity to remind them of the path of righteousness from which they have strayed. When his son confesses to masturbation, the pastor has the boy’s hands tied to the bed frame. The doctor, who treats the village children kindly, nevertheless humiliates his housekeeper/mistress (the local midwife) and sexually abuses his own daughter. The baron, who is the lord of the manor, does as he pleases and rides roughshod over his workers. This exploitation so angers the son of one of the farmers that he destroys a field of cabbages belonging to the baron. The young man’s mother had previously been killed when she fell through rotten floorboards at the baron’s sawmill and his grieving father is later found hanged.

Mysterious things happen. A wire is stretched between two trees causing the doctor to fall from his horse. The baron’s eldest son is abducted on the day of the harvest festival and is found the following morning in the sawmill, having been bound and thrashed with a cane. A barn at the manor is set on fire. The handicapped son of the midwife is attacked and almost blinded. The pastor discovers that his parakeet has been cruelly killed - apparently as revenge for the draconian punishments to his children.

Production Notes:

More than 7,000 children were interviewed during the six-month-long casting period. For most of the adult roles, Haneke selected actors with whom he had worked before and therefore knew they were suitable for the roles. The role of the pastor was originally written for Ulrich Mühe, an actor who had starred in several of Haneke's past productions, but who died in 2007. Various actors were considered for replacement and eventually the part went to Burghart Klaußner, whom the director did not personally know before. Actors with significant stage experience were preferred because of the measured language of the screenplay.

The choice to make the film in black and white was based partly on the resemblance to photographs of the era, but also to create a distancing effect. All scenes were originally shot in color and then altered to black and white. Christian Berger, Haneke's usual director of photography, shot the film on Super 35 using a Moviecam Compact. Before filming started, Berger studied the black and white films Ingmar Bergman made with Sven Nykvist as cinematographer. Haneke wanted the environments to be very dark, so many indoor scenes used only practical light sources such as oil lamps and candles. In some of the darkest scenes, where the crew had been forced to add artificial lighting, extra shadows could be removed in the digital post-production which allowed for extensive retouching. The team in Vienna also sharpened objects and facial expressions, and modern details were removed from the images. In the dance scene, where the camera moves in 360 degrees, tiles were added frame by frame to replace the original Eternit roofs.


Reviews
Horror film of the decade – The White Ribbon
Alan Nothnagle, a freelance writer
AS EVERY CONNOISSEUR OF horror films knows, the scariest monsters aren’t the ones you see but the ones you don’t. In his latest film, The White Ribbon: A German Children’s Story, winner of this year's Palme d’Or in Cannes and Germany’s Oscar submission for 2010, director Michael Haneke presents his audience with the creepiest film of the decade without showing a single creepy monster. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that he does indeed show an entire village filled with creepy beings, leaving us to figure out which among them are even more monstrous than the rest.
Read the entire review: Nothnagle on The White Ribbon

Join or login to comment.

  • Bill J.

    A very complex and dark film. We were pleased to have a member of the German group join us. The after-film dinner and discussion was very engaging. Jimmy O'Neill's Tavern was a perfect venue for watching the Oscars later in the evening.

    March 9, 2010

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