Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

The White Ribbon 2009

Das Weisse Band

Directed by Michael Haneke

Direct from Cannes, the Palme d'Or winner from Austrian cine-provocateur Michael Haneke. Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

Austria / France / Germany / Italy In German with English subtitles
145 minutes B&W / DCP

Director, Screenplay


Stefan Arndt
Veit Heiduschka
Margaret Menegoz
Andrea Occhipinti

Screenplay consultant

Jean-Claude Carriére


Christian Berger


Monika Willi


Christian Friedel
Ernst Jacobi
Leonie Benesch
Ulrich Tukur
Ursina Lardi
Michael Kranz
Burghart Klaussner
Steffi Kühnert
Maria-Victoria Dragus
Josef Bierbichler
Gabriela Maria Schmeide
Rainer Bock
Susanne Lothar
Branko Samarovski


Cannes (In Competition) 2009


Palme d'Or (Best Film), Cannes Film Festival 2009


Thanks to Reading Cinemas we are able to present this dazzling example of the new digital cinema in its original format. Please note the special booking requirements below. For technical reasons The White Ribbon will screen only in Wellington.

“Michael Haneke explores the roots of German fascism in The White Ribbon, a masterful sociological drama that brought the Austrian filmmaker (who previously won Cannes' Grand Jury Prize for The Piano Teacher and Best Director for Hidden) his long-overdue Palme d'Or. The setting is a rural German village during the year lead-up to World War I, where the local schoolteacher (excellent newcomer Christian Friedel) comes to believe that a rash of deadly accidents befalling the townsfolk may be the work of one or more of his eerily withdrawn, stoic pupils. The ribbon of the title, a symbol of innocence and purity, is one that Haneke gradually unravels as the teacher hones in on the ritualistic cycle of domination, submission and humiliation churning beneath the town's placid Protestant surface...

This disturbing, challenging and austerely beautiful film (shot in forbidding black-and-white) methodically works its way through a dense, multi-character narrative while refining the director's trademark concerns about society's hidden violence and the evils transmitted from parents to children... The White Ribbon reaffirms him as the leading European filmmaker of his generation. It feels like a classic even as you are watching it for the first time.” — Scott Foundas, LA Weekly

“A portrait of a place that is so rich, so detailed and so full of telling relationships and behaviour that you feel you have gained an understanding of the very essence of these people.” — Dave Calhoun, Time Out