Main Article Content
This article explores, within a sociological-psychological framework, the problematic moral emotions of spectators evoked by watching the film Das weiße Band (The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke, DE/AT/FR/IT, 2009). As always in Michael Haneke’s films the spectator’s moral system is severely put to the test, upon watching the unimaginable actions people are capable of. At first sight the shown atrocities that remain unpunished seem to cause the spectator’s distress. The real horror, however, lies in the fact the evil occurs within the boundaries of a religious society that hails itself as good and just. The word of God as a moral guide becomes ineffective in this film and in Dogville (Lars von Trier, NL/DK/UK/FR/FI/SE/DE/ IT/NO 2003), a film used as comparison. Both films exemplify that in the end, the most difficult conclusion to process by the spectator is that the worst crime is feeling morally superior and teaching others how to behave. In The White Ribbon this teaching is projected as the punishment that causes the crimes.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
By submitting a paper, the author(s) agrees that:
- The copyright for a published article in its wording remains with the journal for three years; afterwards, it falls back to the author on condition that the article may remain in the archived issue of the journal.
- All rights on the object described in said article remain with the author. However, the author has to agree that s/he will not publish another publication on an identical subject in another journal within one year of submission of the article to the JRFM.
- The author is responsible for clearing copyright issues that may emerge from images and/or media clips s/he uses in her/his article.