Saturday, 12 September 2009

Venice 2009: White Material

Set in an unnamed African country where Isabelle Huppert's coffee plantation owner struggles to harvest her crop and hold on to her land as a civil war rages around her, Claire Denis' complex, atmospheric film represents a return to the subject matter of her debut, Chocolat, namely French colonials in Africa. Headstrong and ruthlessly driven, Huppert's Maria doesn't exactly engender much sympathy as she ignores calls from the retreating French army to leave, putting her extended family at risk for the sake of the harvest and her dependence on the land, ultimately unable to prevent the inevitable tragedy as the plantation is overrun by child soldiers. Powerful stuff.


Gerard said...

I've only ever seen a couple of Denis' films, but catching 35 Shots of Rum at the MIFF recently (where she went back on her commitment to appear in person at the eleventh hour as she was locked in the edit for this) was a keen reminder that hers is a back catalogue I really must delve into at some point.

Mark Salisbury said...

The one I've not seen and am very keen to watch is Trouble Every Day with Beatrice Dalle.

Mark Salisbury said...

Just picked up a copy on ebay.