Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" (Das Weisse Band) has been named the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Grand Prix For Film of the Year. Set in a village in Protestant northern Germany on the eve of World War I, "Ribbon" is the story of the children and teenagers of a choir run by the village schoolteacher, and their families as strange accidents occur and gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the festival's grand prize, and was just yesterday chosen as Germany's submission for the foreign language film category at the Academy Awards.
Haneke will receive the award on September 18th at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The prize was chosen by members throughout the world of the International Federation of Film Critics, who can vote for any feature film internationally premiered since July of the previous year.
Awarded each year at the San Sebastian Film Festival, the FIPRESCI Grand Prix has previously gone to:
1999 “All About My Mother” (Pedro Almodovar)
2000 “Magnolia” (Paul Thomas Anderson)
2001 “The Circle” (Jafar Panahi)
2002 “The Man Without a Past” (Aki Kaurismaki)
2003 “Distant” (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
2004 “Notre Musique” (Jean-Luc Godard)
2005 “3-Iron” (Kim Ki-duk)
2006 “Volver” (Pedro Almodovar)
2007 “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (Cristian Mungiu)
2008 “There Will Be Blood” (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Sony Pictures Classics has picked up U.S. rights and will release the film in late December.