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   3,705 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)
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User Reviews:
What happens when the place you consider home rejects you? See more (22 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
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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 title comes from the rebels' description of the white people and their possessions.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
What happens when the place you consider home rejects you?, 4 September 2011
Author: PoppyTransfusion from United Kingdom

The setting for the film is a West African, French-speaking country riven by civil unrest and fighting between the army and rebels who consist of children, many orphaned. The rebels' icon and unofficial leader is a former soldier known as The Boxer (a cameo from Isaach de Bankole). Directed by Clare Denis she presents the country's unravelling situation and uses a non-linear narrative to loop back and forth within the 48-hour period that is the story's time frame.

Amidst the mayhem we are slowly introduced to the owners of a coffee plantation, who are a white family of French origins: Maria Vial (Huppert), her ex-husband Andre (Lambert), their son Manuel and his grandfather Bernard. Living with the family is Andre's second wife/partner Lucie and their son Jose. At the point we meet the family they are 5 days from coffee harvest and their workers are fleeing the plantation afraid for their lives. They leave to return home because 'coffee is just coffee and not worth dying for'. Maria does not feel the same way and recruits some replacement workers to ensure a successful harvest. Meanwhile Andre, who shares the workers' fears, is plotting the family's escape which means selling the plantation to the local mayor who will ensure their safe passage out of the country. This is kept from Maria who has vowed never to leave.

As events unfold it is obvious to everyone around Maria that the situation is becoming less stable and increasingly precarious. She refuses to see or acknowledge this. Interspersed throughout we hear a DJ allied to the rebels, used as a sort of narrator, playing reggae and making pronouncements against the existing government and white people, who are the 'white material' of the title.

The film's narrative and characters make it difficult for the viewer to apprehend what is happening immediately and/or to like/relate to the characters easily. This is part of its success: the situation and people we are presented with are complex. Although of French origin and white we learn that Bernard and Manuel were both born in the country making them citizens. Maria has left France and never wants to return; she herself despises the white French people ('these dirty whites ... they don't deserve this beautiful land') and clearly does not perceive herself to be one even though the rebels and army see her as one such 'dirty white' who makes the country 'filthy'. Throughout is woven the theme of where is home and what it means to feel you belong and rooted in a situation where others label you an outsider.

Maria is a tough fighter but lacks sensitivity and does not seem to realise, or wish to see, how she is perceived. We witness the tragic consequences of this to her, her family and the people who work with her as the film works to its conclusion.

The film is beautifully shot with an atmospheric soundtrack provided by Tindersticks. The colours, the heat, the expanse are well evoked and make you realise why Maria loves it so she is prepared to risk her life and those close to her. There is spare use of dialogue and Huppert excels at the role of Maria, a difficult woman of few words. This is the sort of film that benefits from more than one watch as Denis packs in characters and events all of which add to the texture of the film and its politics.

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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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