6.9/10
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27 user 126 critic

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:

A fascinating woman portrait! 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:

Balta medziaga See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,613, 21 November 2010

Gross USA:

$304,020

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$973,274
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

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 »

Goofs

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

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.13 (2011) 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

 
maddening characters in a maddening world
14 August 2016 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

In French colonial Africa, Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert) is struggling to finish the coffee bean harvest. The rebels are approaching. French forces are leaving. Local have turned to banditry and her workers have mostly abandoned her. The African mayor bullies André Vial (Christopher Lambert) to get his father to sell the plantation. Maria has their white son Manuel and André has his half-African son Jose. Maria stubbornly refuses to leave the harvest even after Manuel is stripped naked by a couple of boys. Manuel starts to deteriorate mentally. Maria discovers wounded rebel fighter Le Boxeur in her barn.

Isabelle Huppert embodies a fierce interior and stubbornness. The family's varying reaction to their situation can be mind-boggling. There is real tension but also frustration with Maria. These are maddening characters in a maddening world.


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