Nothing is ever easy with filmmaker Michael Haneke and his provocative, politicized dramas of people in social conflict (The Piano Teacher, Caché, Funny Games). This portrait of a Northern German farming village a year before World War I is typically challenging. The seemingly peaceful community is actually a seething cauldron of hatred and violence. Q: Who is beating the schoolchildren, burning down barns, assaulting the town doctor, kidnapping the baron’s young son, mutilating a “retarded” boy, etc? A: It takes a village. After awhile the mystery begins to simmer down to the usual barbed Haneke history lesson, and you may want to drop the course before midterm, but Christian Berger’s rich black and white cinematography is something to see. Has an almost documentary verisimilitude. With Christian Friedel and Leonie Benesch as the local schoolmaster and his sweetheart. Written and directed by Haneke (144 min.).
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Producer: Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz and Margaret Ménégoz
Cast: Ulrich Tukur, Susanne Lothar, Burghart Klaussner, Marisa Growaldt, Josef Bierbichler, Janina Fautz, Christian Friedel, Steffi Kühnert, Leonie Benesch and Mercedes Jadea Diaz