Here goes something I posted to Harriet blog tonight, regarding Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon:
"His films do not condescend as a von Trier or Bergman film do, but rather make one identify with the bad faith of its characters. How he does this is through the craft of a great storyteller and cinematographer. The flip-side of Haneke’s bad faith is a tenuous redemption Haneke proffers through his most humiliated characters. In The White Ribbon these characters—angels of mercy—are the pastor’s young son, who comes to his father bearing the gift of a caged bird after the pastor’s bird has been brutally executed, and in another scene bargains with his father to keep a pet frog. It is also the baron’s wife, who explains to her husband why she is leaving him: because the town over which he lords is filled with malice, and threatens the well-being of their son and the happiness of their marriage."