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A view on Blu-ray by Brian Montgomery

 

The White Ribbon (AE Spine # 008  vs. Sony) [Blu-ray]

(aka "Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte" or "The White Tape or the Teacher's Tale")

 

(Michael Haneke, 2009)

 

 

 

 

Review by Brian Montgomery and Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Theatrical: X-Filme Creative Pool/Wega Film/Les Films du Losange/Lucky Red

Blu-ray: Artificial Eye / Sony

 

Disc:

Region: AE 'B'-locked / Sony Region 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:23:33.605 / 2:23:55.627

Disc Size: 43,917,487,158 bytes / 48,410,490,399 bytes

Feature Size: 33,604,454,400 bytes / 36,468,387,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps / 26.89

Chapters: 9 (both)

Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)

Release date: March 15th, 2010 / June 29th, 2010

 

Video (same for both):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1657 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1657 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2077 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2077 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 2783 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2783 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none (Sony also offer English SDH)

 

NOTE: Reed tells us in email "Sony subtitles are much smaller, less bright, and obtrusive than AE. On a film this visually beautiful, every unnecessary compromising intrusion becomes an abomination." (Thanks Reed!)

 

Extras (duplicated on both):

• Making of Documentary (38:33)

• Portrait of Michael Haneke (50:08) - entitled 'My Life' on Sony Blu-ray

• Cannes Film Festival featurette (18:35)

• Interview with Michael Haneke (14:59)

• Theatrical trailer

 

 

The Film:

Something is wrong in the village. Some malevolent force, some rot in the foundation. This wrongness is first sensed in a series of incidental "accidents." Then the maiming of a child takes place. This forces the villagers, who all know one another, to look around more carefully. Is one of them guilty? How can that be? One person couldn't be responsible for all of these disturbing events. Have many been seized in an evil contagion?

 


After the first screening of Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" at Cannes, everybody had theories about who "did it." Well, we're trained to see such stories as whodunits. Haneke is never that simple. It all may have been "done," but what if there seems to be no doer? What if bad things happen to good people who are not as good as they think they are? In Haneke's "Cache" (2005), who shot the alarming videos spying on the family? Are you sure? Haneke's feeling is that we can never be certain.

Excerpt of review from Roger Ebert located HERE

 


 

Image:    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Without the slightest hint of hyperbole, I can honestly say that this might be the best looking blu-ray that I've ever come across. I literally cannot find anything to complain about in this disc. The image is crystal clear and, as you can see in the caps, very minute details are presented with stunning clarity. Take the fourth capture for instance. There it appears that every last straw is distinguishable from the others and with exceptional levels of depth and contrast. Of course clarity is only part of the story when it comes to the image, and the disc could have been ruined by damage, macroblocking, manipulating the contrast, edge enhancements, or other artefacting. Fortunately, none of these are an issue here. I know that I've used a lot of expressive adjectives and generally sounded very effusive, but as I'm sure that you'll see when you look at the caps, it was also an accurate report.

 

Despite the technical superiority of the Sony (notably high bitrate) I don't see any significant differences between the two editions. The Sony may be marginally sharper at times, show a bit more depth and a shade less noise in some of the darker sequences. Unless you are projecting this larger than 120" I doubt many could tell the difference.  

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Captures from the Sony Blu-ray

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:

The disc boasts a very impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in the original German, and like the image, I can't find anything wrong with it. The clarity and contrast are both very strong, and although it may not have the full level of richness blaring out of all speakers like you might from last summer's blockbusters, it's nevertheless very nice, without any unwanted noise. The disc comes with optional English subtitles that are very clear and never intrude on the image. Unfortunately, the disc is region B locked.

 

Aside from the Sony being Region 'A'-locked (and the AE 'B') the only other significant difference in the discs is that the Sony offers the option of English narrative for the German dialogue. We don't recommend utilizing this feature. The Sony has, by default, the original German language (also in lossless) and optional English subtitles (but in both standard and SDH).

 

Extras:

The disc also comes with a wealth of extras. First up, there's an interview with the director that as he discusses the origins of the project and how it progressed through several stages to its final project. Next, there's a lengthy documentary about Haneke that details both his projects and a glimpse into his private life via his wife. Next up is a look into the film's Cannes win, complete with the typical Cannes panel discussion. Finally, aside from a HD trailer, there's also a "making of..." documentary that details the film from it's genesis through its production, and eventual arrival in Cannes.

 

Extras appear to be duplicated on both discs - I especially recommend the 50-minute 'My Life' (Portrait of Haneke).

 

Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray Menus (and supplements - duplicated on both)

 

 

Bottom line:

The film itself is an absolute masterpiece with some of the most gorgeous cinematography that I have ever seen. Artificial Eye has done the film justice with an exquisite package. This is one of the easiest recommendations that I've ever made. If you don't already own the disc, then do yourself a favor and buy it now. It's an absolute must own for anyone interested in cinema, and my current front runner for Blu-ray of the year.

 

I'll mirror Brian's comments but those unfamiliar with the director should note this has some highly unsettling themes. Regardless, it is a masterpiece.

Brian Montgomery
May 2nd, 2010

Gary Tooze

June 2010

 

 

 

 




 

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