White Material | Chicago Reader

White Material

In a fictional African country, a helicopter hovers over a French coffee plantation, bringing news to the stubborn white owner (Isabelle Huppert) that France is pulling out and leaving the country to civil war; refusing to evacuate until her crop has been harvested, she takes her chances with the rebel army and its child soldiers. This haunting 2009 drama by Claire Denis (Beau Travail, 35 Shots of Rum) burns with a mute fear and rage at the ongoing atrocities in central Africa. In keeping with the title—an African character's reference to French material goods—Denis seems at first to be mapping the usual postcolonial tensions between native Africans and European entrepreneurs. But as the characters are all swallowed up by war, their little world gradually polarizes into humanity and savagery, with the young (including the woman's unstable grown son) notably inclined toward the latter. With Isaach De Bankolé, Christopher Lambert, and Nicolas Duvauchelle. In French with subtitles.

Credits

Director:

  • Claire Denis

Cast:

  • Isabelle Huppert
  • Isaach De Bankolé
  • Christopher Lambert
  • Nicolas Duvauchelle
  • William Nadylam
  • Adèle Ado
  • Ali Barkai
  • Daniel Tchangang
  • Michel Subor

Producer:

  • Pascal Caucheteux

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