White Material View large image


Film Details

Directed by: Claire Denis

Produced: 2009

Countries & Regions: Cameroon, France

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Length: 100 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 6 December 2010

Cat No: ART500DVD

Anamorphic (16:9)
Languages(s): French
Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0

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White Material

Cast: Isaach De Bankole , Christopher Lambert , Isabelle Huppert , Michel Subor , Ali Barkai , Nicolas Duvauchelle , William Nadylam , Adele Ado , Daniel Tchangang , Jean-Marie Ahanda , Patrice Eya , Serge Mong

Availability: Not available.

Drama centred around a family of white French settlers in Africa. When coffee plantation owner Henri Vial (Michel Subor), his son Andre... Read More

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Drama centred around a family of white French settlers in Africa. When coffee plantation owner Henri Vial (Michel Subor), his son Andre (Christophe Lambert) and his ex-wife Marie (Isabelle Huppert) find themselves caught up in the turmoil of a rapidly disintegrating political situation, they refuse to acknowledge the danger of the social unrest that has now reached boiling point in their adopted homeland. Joining forces with a black rebel army hero who is also embroiled in the tumult, the Vials fight to survive as their world rapidly crumbles around them.

One of 2010’s most acclaimed dramas, White Material unfolds around a coffee plantation in an unnamed African state, overseen by Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert).

With civil war breaking out and her ex-husband threatening to sell up, Maria strives to keep the business running, ignoring the peacekeepers’ advice to leave before the rebels arrive. There’s already been one prominent arrival: The Boxer (Isaach de Bankolé), a local hero stalling for time to recover from a bullet to the gut.

Claire Denis’ filmmaking, sensory and experiential, concerns itself less with narrative propulsion than with what it is to be in particular places at particular times. Her sensibility is wholly cinematic: one late sequence – as the workers settle in on the ranch as night falls, aware they may face the possibility of violent death before dawn – could, subtitles aside, be lifted wholesale from any Western.

Neither slandering nor exoticising the continent, Denis views Africa less as heart of darkness than a home like any other. The question this searching and engrossing film poses is: whose home?

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