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White Material (2009)

Not Rated | | Drama , War | 24 March 2010 (France)
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1:45 | Trailer
Amidst turmoil and racial conflict in a Francophone African state, a white French woman fights for her coffee crop, her family and ultimately for her life.

Director:

Claire Denis

Writers:

Claire Denis (scenario), Marie N'Diaye (scenario) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert ... Maria Vial
Christopher Lambert ... André Vial (as Christophe Lambert)
Nicolas Duvauchelle ... Manuel Vial
William Nadylam ... Chérif, le maire
Michel Subor ... Henri Vial, le propriétaire
Isaach De Bankolé ... Le Boxeur
Adèle Ado Adèle Ado ... Lucie, la femme d'André
Ali Barkai Ali Barkai ... Jeep, le chef des enfants rebelles
Jean-Marie Ahanda Jean-Marie Ahanda
Martin Poulibe Martin Poulibe
Patrice Eya Patrice Eya
Serge Mong Serge Mong
Mama Njouam Mama Njouam
Thomas Dumerchez Thomas Dumerchez
Christine-Ange Tatah Christine-Ange Tatah
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Storyline

Denis revisits Africa, this time exploring a place rife with civil and racial conflict. A white French family outlawed in its home and attempting to save its coffee plantation connects with a black hero also embroiled in the tumult. All try to survive as their world rapidly crumbles around them Written by Pusan International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Spellbinding! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [France]

Country:

France | Cameroon

Language:

French

Release Date:

24 March 2010 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Biala Afryka See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,613, 21 November 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$302,819, 30 January 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film came about because Isabelle Huppert approached Claire Denis, asking her if they could work together. See more »

Goofs

The position of the goat's head in the coffee beans changes between shots. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Limits of Control (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Jah Give Us Life (Don't Feel No Way)
Written by W. Matthews
Performed by Wailing Souls
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A war-torn Africa populated by cardboard cut-out characters
6 March 2011 | by tigerfish50See all my reviews

Chaos reigns in some nameless, war-torn African nation. A murderous rag-tag guerrilla group searches the jungle wilderness for its charismatic wounded leader The Boxer, while some equally ruthless government soldiers try to hunt him down. As the signs of war multiply, The Boxer finds a hiding place in some deserted outbuildings at the Vial coffee plantation which has been abandoned by its workers. Fear surrounds the decaying French-owned estate where Maria Vial resides with her ex-husband Andre, their dissolute half-mad son and her hated father-in-law. Maria ignores warnings to leave and obsesses over the unharvested coffee crop, while Andre conspires with the sinister local mayor to hand over the property in exchange for safe passage out of the country.

Director Denis makes no attempt to explore her characters, their relationships or the stories behind their present condition, apparently satisfied with documenting the surface symptoms of communal meltdown. She focuses on Maria, but reveals nothing about her heroine except for the foolish fixation on the neglected coffee beans. All the other characters possess similarly one-dimensional personalities - the Europeans are reduced to stereotypes of colonial decadence, while the Africans are portrayed as bloodthirsty and venal. When the film culminates in an orgy of capricious madness it's impossible to care about anyone's fate, because it's obvious they are symbols existing in a metaphor. Denis doesn't appear to care either.


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