Michael Haneke finally won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year (I think he should have won for “Cache” in 2005) for this unsettling drama set in a remote German village just a few years before WWI, where mysterious and violent crimes are shaking up the townsfolk. Haneke, who’s officially a master of allegory, touches on all kinds of bleak subjects such as patriarchy, crime, revenge, and of course death. He’s a barrel of laughs, this guy.
As expected, Haneke explores the dark side of human nature as only Haneke can, and it’s all the more disturbing being that the focus is mainly on the children. Maliciously neglectful parenting has an obvious impact on the children, and in a way you get a glimpse at the origin of the Nazi party, or at least the origin of extremism with pre-Nazi Germany as the example.
I also wanted to say that this whole film is absolutely beautiful to look at (it turns out that it was originally filmed in color and then changed to black and white in post-production) and that if it weren’t for Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist,” it would deserve to win every annual cinematography award there is (sadly both films are probably too controversial to win anything outside of the festivals).