23 reviews in total
10 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
White woman's burden
stensson from Stockholm, Sweden
5 August 2010
In an unknown African country, a civil war is going on. This French
woman refuses to escape. She wants to save the coffee.
There's movie horror and there's real horror and this comes close to
the later one. But it doesn't escalate, it's latent all the time, until
the final eruption.
What's more important is however what's on trial here. It's not
colonialism or greed or prejudices. More than so, it's The White
Mother, who is rebelled, not only by her son, but by being determined,
by not giving up, by not fearing. The key line is when she says to her
son: -"I will never let you go". Interesting.
27 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
Worst movie seen in along time
bobbobwhite from san ramon ca
20 December 2010
Just an awful and unengaging French movie about murderous civil war in
a backward African country, about a coffee plantation owner's wife
trying to get her coffee crop harvested in the middle of a violent
civil war(what!!!) that has severely disrupted everything and put
everyone's life in danger, and especially her family. What resulted is
a confused mess of a critic's darling film that regular viewers will
hate or not see, which is more likely, as always. This film will do no
business in America, and surely will do poorly even in France. It is
that bad and worse than many amateur's cheap docu-dramas.
Chopped up and haphazard editing("this is art")led to poor story
continuity, flashbacks and flash forwards were thrown in without any
sense of story progression or sense, and phone-it-in, very bland
"acting" by the lead, played by Isabelle Huppert, made this the worst,
should-have-been-good movie I have paid to see in ages, and I dearly
love French films. The only thing good about it was the cinematography,
and that was even much less than it should have been for a film made in
wondrously beautiful Africa.
Isabelle Huppert showed an emotional range here of A to B and no more.
No matter what was happening, bad to worse to worst, her face showed no
emotion and was as relaxed as if she were strolling along the Seine,
and her calm voice also reflected no emotion no matter that her world
was crumbling around her. Plus, the oblique and foggy acting technique
of the entire cast, obviously done at the filmmaker's "creative"
insistence, did little to clarify or explain anything before or during
the crisis they were in, and as was probably said at the time, "Hey,
this is an art film! Anything goes." A good story well told instead
would have been far superior and actually meant something.
See this failure of a film if you want to see a clueless French woman
constantly wondering around rural Africa with a confused look on her
face while making some of the most stupid decisions one could make with
her life on the line, and that of her family. And the chopped off,
abrupt ending left us smack in the middle of the mess and led nowhere.
What a disappointment this film was in every way possible. It could
have really said something of interest, instead of boring us to death.
We can get that for free.
11 out of 51 people found the following review useful:
more myths of the dark continent
trpuk1968 from United Kingdom
5 September 2010
White Material promotes the idea of Africa as 'heart of darkness'.
Having the action take place in an 'unnamed African country' has the
effect of making the entire continent a locus for every kind of
depravity and evil, because this could be 'anywhere and everywhere' on
the continent. Giving no historical, social or political context for
the events which unfold situates them outside of any framework and has
the effect of portraying Africans as irrational: a racist discourse
which has been sustained since the eighteenth century and on, when
justifications had to be found firstly for slavery and then later on
for colonial exploitation. I hope I ve read this film wrong because I
enjoyed Denis' other film 35 Shots of Rum and, although I ve not seen
it, I heard her film Chocolat is empathetic towards Africans.
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