The White Ribbon (2009)—Austria
Director Michael Haneke filmed his latest study of human nature in black and white, but it includes many shades of gray moral ambiguity that, by design, are left unresolved. An elderly man narrates the "strange events" that unsettled his German village when he was a young school teacher just before the outbreak of World War I. A doctor had a suspicious accident, a farmer's wife dies in a fall, a barn burns to the ground, and even the child of the local baron is tortured. The placid conventions and conformity of the village are upended by fear and suspicion. In one gruesome scene a note is left that quotes the Psalm to the effect that the sins of the parents are visited upon their children. In Haneke's telling, the children imitate the dark impulses that we learn about their ostensibly respectable adults. The White Ribbon was nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign film. In German with English sub-titles.