The white ribbonDVD - 2010 | German
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THE WHITE RIBBON A German children's story -- I don't know if the story I want to tell you is entirely true. Some of it I only know by hearsay. After so many years, a lot of it is still obscure, and many questions remain unanswered. But I think I must tell of the strange events that occurred in our village. They could perhaps clarify some things that happened in this country. It all began, I think, with the doctor's riding accident. ...
Your mother and I will sleep poorly: I have to beat you and the strokes will cause us more pain than you.
Tomorrow, once your punishment has purified you, your mother will re-tie a ribbon on you, and you'll wear it
until we can trust you again.
I gave God a chance to kill me. He didn't do it. So he's pleased with me.
I'm leaving so the children don't grow up in surroundings that are dominated by malice, envy, apathy and brutality. Sigi's whistle was the last straw. I'm sick and tired of persecutions, threats and perverse acts of revenge.
What is it?
-To replace Piepsi. Because you're so sad.
-You're welcome, Father.
Can you forgive me, Father?
-Forgive you for what? That the estate won't give me any work? That Frieda was fired in disgrace? That your brothers and sisters have nothing to eat? Or what?
The Baron wasn't popular, but as a powerful figure and employer of half the village, he was respected. His statement on the community's peace was ominous. And the mysterious character of these criminal deeds
awakened the old mistrust of the farmers.
It was an old custom: "Harvest's done, pay everyone, If we don't get our due, your cabbage'll be sliced for you."
He's at a difficult age.
-Actually not. They're always at a difficult age.
Yes. You didn't miss me.
-What does that mean?
Nothing. I said it because it's true. Nothing like a nice dose of self-hate!
He lost his appetite, couldn't sleep any more, his hands began to shake, his memory started to fail, his face became covered with pustules, then his whole body. Finally, he died. The body, that I had to bless, looked like an old man's body. Do you understand now why I'm worried? What do you think caused these changes that led
to that boy's miserable end?
-I don't know.
I think you know very well. Won't you tell me? No? Then I'll give you the answer. The boy had seen someone,
who was harming the finest nerves of his body, in the area where God has erected sacred barriers. The boy imitated this action. He couldn't stop doing it. In the end he destroyed all his nerves, and died of it.
Sordid conversation P1 of 3:
What did I do to you?
-My God, you've done nothing to me! You're ugly, messy, flabby and have bad breath. ... Don't sit there
looking like death warmed over. The world won't collapse. Not on you, or on me. I can't go on with this, that's all. I've really tried... to think of another woman while making love to you. One who smells good, who's young, less decrepit than you, but my imagination can't manage it. In the end, it's you again and then I feel like puking, and am embarrassed at myself. So what's the point?
Are you through?
-I have been for ages.
You must be very unhappy to be so mean.
-Please, not that routine!
Sordid conversation P2 of 3:
I know I'm not much to look at. My bad breath comes from my ulcer, you know that. It didn't bother you in the past. I had it when your wife was alive.
-Spare me these sordid details. Let me reassure you: it always disgusted me. After Julie's death, I wanted to ease my pain with anyone. I could have screwed a cow! Whores are too far from here, and once every two months isn't enough for me, even though I'm getting on. So skip acting like a martyr, and scram.
Why are you only noticing this now?
-When should I have noticed it?
At the hospital, I forgot how tiresome you are. One grows sentimental when in pain.
-Get out! Don't you have any pride? There's no room for any with you.
That's true. What if I do something silly?
-Go ahead. It'd surprise me. But be careful: it may be painful.
Sordid conversation P3 of 3:
I know, I'm ridiculous. You wouldn't care anyway.
Why do you despise me? For helping to raise the boy? For watching you finger your daughter and saying nothing? For helping you to deceive yourself? For listening to you claim how you loved Julie, when everyone knew you treated her as badly as me? For loving you, when I know you can't stand being loved?
-That's it. Now get up. I have work to do.
You can't afford to get rid of me. Who'll do the dirty work for you, who'll help you with the kids, and your practice? You don't mean what you're saying. I want to see how far you can go: "Will she take it? Can I drag her even lower?" I'm tired too. I've got two retarded kids: Karli and you. You're the most troublesome one.
-My God, why don't you just die?
I tied a white ribbon in her hair. White, as you all know, is the color of innocence. The ribbon was meant to help Klara avoid sin, selfishness, envy, indecency, lies and sloth.
When does one stop living?
-When one is very old, or very ill.
And the woman?
-She had an accident.
-Yes. It's when you're badly hurt.
-Yes, but much worse than that. So bad, your body can't take it anymore.
And then you're dead ?
-Yes. But most people don't have an accident.
So they're not dead.
-No, they die much later.
-Well... later, when they're really old.
Does everyone die?
-Yes, everyone has to die.
But not you, Anni?
-Me too. Everyone.
But not Dad?
-You too. But not for a very long time. All of us, only in a very long time.
One can't fight it? It has to happen?
-Yes, but not for a very long time.
And Mom? She didn't go on a trip? Is she dead too?
She's dead too. But that was a long time ago.
On July 28th, Austria declared war on Serbia. On Saturday, August 1st, Germany declared war on Russia, and on France the following Monday. The solemn service next Sunday was attended by the whole village. A feeling of expectation and departure was in the air. Now everything was going to change.
If you ever dare to bother others with this, if you ever accuse respectable families and their children and denounce them publicly, I'll make sure, take my word for it, that you go to prison. I've seen a lot during my work as a pastor, but never anything so repulsive! One can tell you have no children. Or you wouldn't stoop to such aberrations. You have a sick mind. How did they let you loose among those poor creatures!
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