In a piece titled “White Ribbon looks like a period piece but draws from classic sci-fi,” critic Brandon Fibbs suggests that director Michael Haneke foreign-language Oscar-nominee “throbs with a spectral connction to a 1960 science fiction film that, were I to name it, would surely ruin this film’s dark, ambiguous surprise.” Haneke is perhaps best known in the United States for FUNNY GAMES, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that his art house effort might have a little something violent and scary beneath its black-and-white period decor. Fibbs certainly makes the film sound intriguing:
Something’s not right in the village. A wire stretched across a road trips a horse, throwing its rider, the town doctor, to the ground with bone-crushing force.
A farmer’s wife is killed in a mysterious mill accident. A barn catches fire in the middle of the night and burns to the ground. A young child is tortured and maimed. What begins as a series of random accidents suddenly takes on the force of malevolent evil. Someone is behind the attacks and as the disturbing events escalate, the villagers cannot help but begin suspecting their neighbors.
We suspect, too, though we are never given any clues.
This is not about evidence and proof; it is about the metastasizing, putrid feeling in the pit of your stomach that senses primal evil where there should be only purity and innocence.
From the description, I think I know the “1960 science fiction film to which to which Fibbs refers, but I won’t reveal the title either. I guess I will have to add WHITE RIBBON to my Netflix que to see whether my guess is correct.