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White Material [Blu-ray]

15 customer reviews

Price: £7.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Isaach De Bankole, Christophe Lambert, Nicolas Duvauchelle, William Nadylam
  • Directors: Claire Denis
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Dec. 2010
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0042AEU5K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,583 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

In this drama directed and co-written by Claire Denis, Isabelle Huppert plays Maria, a white woman living in an African nation that has been falling into political chaos. Maria owns a coffee plantation, and regards her property as her personal domain; she would rather fight that give up her land, though her stubborn attitude prevents her from admitting that she's putting those close to her in danger.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By technoguy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD
White Material is vague,obtuse,brooding,inexplicable,lacking psychological detail or narrative structure or plotting dynamic.Entering into a dreamworld of image and sound impressions, we read from the characters and pick up from the landscape the clues we need from the montage of concrete impression and abstract manouever.From the opening running dogs caught in the headlights to the dead body of the rebel leader caught in the torchlight we enter the oneiric door of a disturbing realm.We are in a perpetual present,both timeless and modern,in an unnamed African Francophone country.Isabel Huppert(Maria) runs a coffee plantation for her family,ex-husband, father-in-law,son.Stubbornly, blindly wanting to harvest and process the coffee beans, in the face of civil war,despite the fact her farmworkers are fleeing for their own survival,that her son is bone-idle,her ex-husband(Lambert) wants to leave,her father-in-law just wanders around,not wishing to leave.Things are left unsaid,or we pick up from two native speakers or a rebel DJ that the party is over for white people:"no more drinking cocktails on the verandah". Their farms and possessions are `white material',superficial to the needs of the African people, in the escalating civil war between government militia and wandering child soldiers and rebel gunmen.

Unfolding in flash-backs as Maria scrambles to make her way back home on the back of a bus.Huppert plays her part with steely magnificence and physical perseverence. Maria is determined to stay and with the help of local villagers, carries on alone to manage the harvest,in an attempt to bring the coffee to market.The dehumanising force of violence sweeps everybody up in its psychotic force,especially the troubled Manuel(Duvauchelle),Maria's son.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Dec. 2010
Format: DVD
It was great to catch another film by the talented French director Clair Denis, and starring the very gifted Isabelle Huppert. Her stunning first film "Chocolat" made in 1988, which I have also watched recently, was a revelation that enticed me into watching her bewitching portrayal of life in the Foreign Legion "Beau Travail". Whilst I personally don't believe that it quite achieves the skilfully constructed nuances of these films, it is a very compelling film never the less. Clair Denis goes back to a subject that she understands so well, and explored to such powerful effect in "Chocolat", the white mans alienation in Africa. Brought up in colonial Africa she understands what it is to be a "Stranger in a Strange Land". The first reviewer is correct to draw comparisons with Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". Denis's Africa is the same white mans graveyard that Conrad so graphically wrote about, although interestingly Denis has based her film loosely on nobel prize winning author Doris Lessing's book "The Grass is singing".

The story concerns a white coffee growing family caught up in a stereo typical Central African civil war, of boy soldiers and arbitrary killings, where life is getting cheaper by the minute. The country might be Rwanda or Sierra Leone. It is clearly filmed in the same area as "Chocolat", which I believe was Cameroon, an old French colony. Most of the whites, sensibly seeing the writing on the wall, have left the country, but this family headed by family patriarch Michel Subor and supported by his daughter in law Isabelle huppert stubbornly ignore the possible fatal consequences of staying. This is certainly not so far fetched as it seems. Many whites stayed on in the Belgian Congo long after after their situation had become untenable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Viviana Fernandez on 5 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had read many positive reviews of this movie. In addition, I am a great fan of Isabelle Huppert's work, so I looked forward to watching this movie. I particularly liked Claire Denis' non-chronological storyline. It's hard to tell whether this I. Huppert's most brilliant performance ever, but I. Huppert always gives outstanding performances.

From the DVD, I learned that the genesis of this movie came from I. Huppert's idea of making D. Lessing's "The grass is singing" into a movie. (C. Denis found it complicated to film and came up with the script of "White material").
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alixlune on 7 Nov. 2011
Format: DVD
I must say I was the only one at home who liked it depsite it's long silences, it's lack of subtelty, it's lack of logic or explanations too. But it must be said that this is a 15 plus film, killing is shown with no adrenaline to justify it and it is gory. The female character lacks inner logic, she is blind to all around her and her reaction at the end I still don't understand. The images stay with you and hurt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dolemite on 18 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD
Set in a former French colony where a French peace keeping force is withdrawing from and there is a serious insurgency happening. However the owner of a coffee bean farm is refusing to leave and is determined to get the harvest in. Despite the fact that she gets no help from her son, people are reluctant to work there and there are insurgents nearby.
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Format: DVD
Somewhere in White Material there is a good, edge of seat drama waiting to get out. The problem for me was that we join the action in the middle and are then told the events leading up to that point in a series of flashbacks which are confusing at best and impossible to follow at worst. The story of a French woman determined to bring in her coffee harvest despite the wide scale chaos of a rebel uprising in the surrounding area is a good one, but the leading lady seems impossibly disconnected from the very real danger she and her workers are facing. Could anyone be so naïve? She repeatedly has guns pointed at her but still continues to do the mundane - go to the bank, visit the chemist, collect her workers. Surely she would be battening down the hatches or accepting the offer of a flight out of the area for her and her teenage son and husband?

The son has a complete meltdown, shaves his head and throws his lot in with the rebels. His leap from lazy lie abed teen to shaven headed thug is so quick that it is hard to believe - we needed to know more about his basic character (he is apparently not 'fully baked' according to the local Mayor and family friend) for this transformation to be acceptable.

There are points during the film where the only way I could tell whether I was watching present day action or a flashback was by the dress worn by the central character. The film has an excellent idea - the child soldiers, orphans swept up by manipulative and charismatic rebel leaders are chilling in their gun carrying innocence (they rob a farm house, carrying guns as big as themselves, but when surprised, they run away, holding hands like the 8 year olds they are) and the whole white people making money in poor former Colonies is an excellent one for a drama.

Sadly, the script for this was just too difficult to follow.
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