Foreign films: “White Ribbon” & “Il Divo”


Okay let me just say the worst combination for a film is one with subtitles and one that goes on forever. Sadly “White Ribbon” you apply to this.

I don’t have a problem that it was in German. I love foreign languages, it’s just when a movie is 2 hours and 20 mins and it’s not your primary language, you start to lose focus and that’s what happened with me.

The whole film was slightly confusing to me and  I know there was some deeper meaning to it, but after it ended.. I was like really? Okay so I guess the premise of the film is that all these strange events where happening in a German town before WWI. It showed that no society is pure innocent and good. Everyone seems to have their own skeletons in the closet.

The title comes from the the white ribbon that two children wear to  show their innocence and purity. The best example is when the little boy Rudi asks his sister about death and is surprised that everyone must die. It was very sad that some of the little boy’s innocence broke away after finding out that no one lives forever. I think the title can also be used for the town as a whole. The town wants to be like it’s children, innocent and carefree. Clearly that’s not the case…

The one thing I did like about this film was that it was shot in black and white. By filming in black and white, 1) It showed the stark contrast between the landscape especially when there was snow on the ground 2) It also defined the actors better and you could see the hidden emotion in their faces that might have been hidden by all the natural colors. 3) Lastly it provided to the show the color of white which was the innocent color.  Like black and white photographs, it captures hidden things that color normally blend and hides.

Okay now onto “Il Divo” which was the last film on my list. I probably should have mixed up my films so as not to leave two foreign films on the end. Oh well, now I know better.

This film didn’t do much for me. I’ll be honest. It was about politics which I normally don’t follow to well and second, it was about Italian politics which I was even more clueless on.

So the couple of things I did like about this film…

1. When Andreotti’s team was introduced, it kinda reminded of an Italian “Ocean’s 11” because when they stepped out their names were flashed across the screen. I can’t explain why I think this… I just do.

2. The soundtrack was kinda interesting. It had some fun loving melodies during a serious part of the film  and then it had like rock n’ roll music at one point. It was a mix and match sort of soundtrack with sad string songs, classical rhythms and then musics tracks from popular artists.

3. Loved the shot of seeing through the side of Andreotti’s glasses… I always love those shots because it’s almost a first person shot, but not because you are not directly behind the lessons. You are just sitting next to him in the car, you aren’t actually Andreotti.

4. Like the scene when his secretary was explaining his hand motions and also when he and his wife moved to a smaller house and were trying to adjust to it.

The funny thing, these two films revolved around the will of God. As Andreotti said, “there is no chance, there is only the will of God”. He and the German townspeople would agree on this.

Oscar Nominations:

Il Divo: Best Makeup ( Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano)

The White Ribbon: Best Foreign Language Film and Best  Achievement in Cinematography (Christian Berger)

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