White Material

Rated NR 100 min. 2010

Claire Denis' long-awaited return to Africa, 21 years after her debut with Chocolat. In a considerably darker vein than her recent 35 Shots of Rum, the film is set in an African country in the throes of a volatile regime change. Isabelle Huppert plays Maria, a woman determined to keep her coffee plantation functioning even while social structures are collapsing and her workforce is baling out. But her ex-husband (Christophe Lambert) is making his own plans, while their layabout adult son Manuel (Nicolas Duvauchelle) is pretty much useless -- and soon considerably worse than useless. Meanwhile, a rebel officer (long-term Denis regular Isaach de Bankolé) is hiding out nearby. A characteristically fragmented structure thickens the sense of urgency and impending apocalypse, and Huppert, with a restrained intensity entirely her own, plays the heroine teetering on the edge of the volcano. Denis's regular collaborator Stuart Staples adds a moody, throbbing score, while her script partner this time is novelist Marie N'Diaye, one of France's edgiest contemporary writers. All in all, an unmissable combination from one of France's finest.

Film Credits

Official Site: whitematerial-lefilm.com

Director: Claire Denis

Writer: Claire Denis and Marie N'Diaye

Producer: Pascal Caucheteux

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Isaach De Bankolé, Christopher Lambert, William Nadylam, David Gozlan and Nicolas Duvauchelle

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