Film clip: "White Material"

  • Updated: December 16, 2010 - 3:18 PM

Film by Claire Denis stars Isabelle Huppert.

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Isabelle Huppert in “White Material.”


Maria (Isabelle Huppert) is a French coffee plantation owner in an unnamed African country wracked by civil war in "White Material" (★★★; unrated, violent images, in subtitled French). Enigmatic, elliptical but visually powerful, Claire Denis' film plays chronological hopscotch with events. She hands us jolting puzzle pieces involving Maria's ex-husband (a stiff-looking Christopher Lambert), her handsome, indolent grown son (Nicolas Duvauchelle) and a rebel hero called the Boxer (Isaach De Bankole). Denis, who grew up in Africa and has made it the subject of earlier films, concocts an atmosphere rife with complex, conflicting emotions. Mood trumps narrative here. The movie achieves an eerie, transfixing power as Maria tries to preserve her way of life, willfully ignoring the dangers advancing her way. (Edina Cinema.)

COLIN COVERT

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