IMDb > White Material (2009)
White Material
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White Material (2009) More at IMDbPro »

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White Material -- A drama set in an unnamed African country and centered on a French plantation owner caught in the midst of a civil war.

Overview

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6.9/10   3,666 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Claire Denis (scenario) and
Marie N'Diaye (scenario) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for White Material on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 March 2010 (France) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
In the African heat, one woman stands alone
Plot:
Denis revisits Africa, this time exploring a place rife with civil and racial conflict. A white French... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
2 wins & 6 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(230 articles)
Looking back on six great years at In Contention
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The Academy Invites 271 New Members for 2014
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271 Invited To Join The Academy
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User Reviews:
Has some sense of Africa but feels like a lot was left on the cutting room floor See more (22 total) »

Cast

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Directed by
Claire Denis 
 
Writing credits
Claire Denis (scenario) and
Marie N'Diaye (scenario)

Lucie Borleteau  collaboration

Produced by
Pascal Caucheteux .... producer
 
Original Music by
Stuart Staples 
 
Cinematography by
Yves Cape 
 
Film Editing by
Guy Lecorne 
 
Casting by
Richard Rousseau 
 
Production Design by
Abiassi Saint-Père 
 
Costume Design by
Judy Shrewsbury 
 
Makeup Department
Pierre Olivier Persin .... special makeup effects artist
Antonella Prestigiacomo .... key hair stylist
 
Production Management
Albert Blasius .... production manager
Laurencina Lam .... post-production manager
Thibault Mattei .... unit production manager
Monica Taverna .... unit manager
Isabelle Tillou .... production manager
Olivier Torion .... assistant unit manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Lucie Borleteau .... assistant director
Gervais Djimeli Lekpa .... third assistant director
Anaïs Minet .... second assistant director
 
Sound Department
Sandie Bompar .... dialogue editor
Fred Mays .... post-synchronisation
Michel Monier .... sound consultant: dolby
Jean-Paul Mugel .... sound
Josefina Rodríguez .... sound editor
Jean-Alexandre Villemer .... sound recordist
Christophe Vingtrinier .... sound re-recording mixer
Christophe Winding .... sound
 
Visual Effects by
Elodie Glain .... visual effects coordinator
Jean-Francois Theault .... digital compositor
Olivier Veau .... digital compositor
Aurélie Villard .... digital artist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Stéphane Bourgoin .... chief electrician: re-shoots
Maxime Cointe .... first assistant camera
Mathieu Dequirot .... electrician: re-shoots
Martin Levent .... second assistant camera
Stéphane Thiry .... key grip
Bruno Verstraete .... gaffer
Sylvain Zambelli .... first assistant camera: re-shoots
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bernadette Beaudet .... costumer
Claire Tong .... costumer
 
Editorial Department
Sandie Bompar .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Stéphane Boulay .... travelling car
Frédéric Cauvy .... weapons
Antonio Cides .... car preparer
Jean-Jacques Domingues .... car preparer
Jean-Benoit Guillon .... car preparer
Pierre-Axel Vuillaume-Prézeau .... production assistant
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
106 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The role played here by Isabelle Huppert is not dissimilar to the lead character in Doris Lessing's 1950 novel "The Grass is Singing". Huppert always wanted to play that part but Karen Black beat her to it when she appeared in Michael Raeburn's 1981 adaptation.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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23 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
Has some sense of Africa but feels like a lot was left on the cutting room floor, 5 July 2010
Author: oOgiandujaOo from United Kingdom

White Material is a film about a coffee plantation in an unnamed African country (shot in Cameroon). Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert) runs the place for her father Henri (Michel Subor). She has a layabout son called Manuel (Nicolas Duvauchelle) and a weak-willed husband André (played by Christopher Lambert of Highlander fame).

The French army is withdrawing and the country is fractured into regular army, rebels, and newly-formed mad-dog local militias out for rape and pillage, sprung from the ground once law and order dissolves, like Ray Harryhausen's skeleton warriors of the dragon's teeth (Jason and the Argonauts).

It's time to banish the White Material, that is white folk and the trappings of white living. Maria doesn't want to know though and stays on stubbornly trying to process her coffee crop.

The film is quite pretty and captures the feel of Africa on the ground, of the isolation and the wild beauty, but also the extreme lurking danger. Denis has roots in Africa and so manages a lot of authenticity. The dialogue is occasionally awesome, soliloquies in which Maria curses whites and talks about Africa in relation to Europe particularly stand out.

Unfortunately I think there are weak elements, Lambert isn't good enough and his character isn't even necessary (which goes for Henri too), Maria does something brutal and inexplicable at the end (in true clichéd Huppert style), and the film looks like it took a severe amount of cutting as there are plot threads that are barely picked up. The film has the feel of an overly condensed epic. The biggest problem though maybe the narrative structure, where the end occurs at the beginning, which in all frankness, and with due respect to a director who has entertained me with great films more than once, comes off as amateurish.

As usual the Tindersticks provide a wonderful soundtrack for Denis, so important for an auteur to have a proper musical collaborator, but they basically paper over the cracks.

The film is good enough if you just look at is as mesmerising anarchy, but it's not a multi-faceted Denis masterpiece. Isaach De Bankolé is underused as Le Boxeur, the rebel hero general, he's a symbol of a strong moral Africa, gut-shot and dying alone. This character lingers in the memory.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for White Material (2009)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Criterion is releasing it! samuelloveshuppert
Can someone help me figure out the plot? *spoilers* squinchyface
Ahistorical and proud of it, or how this film fails its viewers datrax
Tindersticks darkerwiththeday
Question about a scene lynno_94
Ruined at the end robertbruced
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