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White Material

France, 2009
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Scr.: Claire Denis, Marie N'Diaye
Phot.: Yves Cape
Editor: Guy Lecorne
Music: Stuart Staples
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Christopher Lambert, Nicolas Devauchelle, Isaach De Bankolé, William Nadylam
Distributor: Wild Bunch
Format: 35 mm
Color
102 mins

Claire Denis grew up in Africa and in this film she returns to the continent where her debut Chocolat was also set. While Chocolat was about the childhood memories of a white girl in Africa, this time the film is about a female French plantation owner (Isabelle Huppert) in a country that is increasingly torn apart by a violent civil war. The headstrong Maria ignores warnings about an approaching rebel army with child soldiers and wants to keep the coffee plantation going at any cost, even when the workers flee the plantation. It's the story of a woman who thinks that she is where she belongs, while many Africans regard her as an outsider, an unwanted reminder of European colonialism. Denis wrote the script with the French writer Marie N'Diaye, who won the most important French literary prize last year (the Prix Goncourt).

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