Haneke's chilling "White Ribbon" wins in Cannes

Sun May 24, 2009 4:33pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mike Collett-White and James Mackenzie

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Austrian director Michael Haneke won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival Sunday for "The White Ribbon," a chilling exploration of the roots of Nazi terror.

Haneke's first Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), the top prize at the world's biggest film festival, was one of the favorites among the thousands of critics and journalists in the French Riviera resort for the 12-day movie marathon.

In the black-and-white film, a sinister series of crimes rocks a village in northern Germany on the eve of World War One, and appears linked to a group of children brutalized and scarred by their parents.

Another popular film, "A Prophet," a powerful prison drama by France's Jacques Audiard, received the runner up prize.

Isabelle Huppert, who headed this year's jury and picked up the Cannes best actress award for her role in Haneke's 2001 entry "The Piano Teacher," embraced the 67-year-old at the closing ceremony.

"He keeps the perfect distance from his subject matter," she said. "He says very important things but as he used to say all the time, he doesn't deliver messages, he just shows things in a very subtle way."

Haneke said The White Ribbon should not be interpreted as just being about Nazi Germany, but about any form of fanaticism.

"If you are making a German film then this age is an interesting one," he told Reuters in an interview in Cannes.   Continued...

<p>Director Michael Haneke is congratulated by Jury President Isabelle Huppert after receiving the Palme d'Or award for the film "Das Weisse Band" during the award ceremony of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 24, 2009. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau</p>