YOU VIL NOT LAUGH

Robin Williams said it best on his HBO comedy special. As he tells it, when in Germany being interviewed by a radio talk-show host who commented that the country didn’t have many comedians, he responded: "Well, you killed all the funny people." While The White Ribbon is not a Holocaust film, director Michael Haneke paints a dreary picture of the Germans' mirthless state of mind just before the First World War. In the guise of a crime thriller, this story centers on a small Protestant German village, where a series of inexplicable crimes -- interwoven with everyday occurrences, such as child abuse, the death of a parent, the killing of a pet, women's oppression and other atrocities -- are committed. This Palme d'Or winner and Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language film will make you wrestle with the idea of whether or not the village is a symbolic device to define Germany as a whole. Either way, what eventually played out in real time turned out to be no laughing matter.
Mon., Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m., 2010