CANNES: Today's screening of Michael Haneke's What Ribbon was definitely the unveiling of one of the competition's most serious artistic achievements. Set in a small village in Northern Germany on the eve of the first World War Haneke explores the consequences of absolutist values and the inhumanity that it leads to.
The story is about a group of children in the village choir and their school teacher who are taught to obey simple absolutist values. The children are the generation that later became Nazis but Haneke delivers the message that his film is not abut Nazi it is about all forms of terrorism.
True to the Haneke style the films shows us cold repressed characters and violence. He also captures images of German society as it existed before it disappeared in the first World War.
Haneke described the film later in the press conference as being about the "roots of evil" and said he had had this theme in mind for over ten years. "The point was to show how the principle of absolutism lays the foundations for terrorism. If it is applied to an ideal, any ideal, then that ideal become inhuman." The film shows how the children come to believe they are the hand of God and they become the punishers of others who do not have the same ideals as they do.
Austrian director Haneke has seldom gone home empty handed from Cannes over the past decade with a Grand Prix in 2001 for La Pianiste and a Best Director award for Cache in 2005 and it would be a surprise if he goes home empty handed this year either
Michael HANEKE - Director
Michael HANEKE - Screenplay
Christian BERGER - Cinematography
Christoph KANTER - Set Designer
Monika WILLI - Film Editor
Jean-Pierre LAFORCE - Sound
Guillaume SCIAMA - Sound
Leonie BENESCH - Eva
Josef BIERBICHLER - Le Régisseur
Rainer BOCK - Le Docteur
Christian FRIEDEL - L'instituteur
Burghart KLAUSSNER - Le Pasteur
Steffi KÜHNERT - La femme du Pasteur
Ursina LARDI - La Baronne
Susanne LOTHAR - La Sage-femme
Gabriela-Maria SCHMEIDE - La femme du Régisseur
Ulrich TUKUR - Le Baron