Monday, July 12, 2010

white material

Went to see Claire Dennis’s film “White Material” yesterday afternoon at the Watershed with Alan+Gareth. It’s set in an unnamed African country, with unrest and violence spreading and groups of rebel soldiers and bandits roaming the land. Meanwhile, the army is preparing to re-establish order and “take back” the country. All the expatriates have fled. The film is the story of the one family that remains. Actress Isabelle Huppert is quite brilliant in the role of Maria Vial – standing fast and refusing to give up her family’s coffee plantation. I found it a stunning, but somewhat depressing, film – it was powerful, tense, disorientating and, at times, quite terrifying.
I came out of the cinema feeling a sense of utter hopelessness.
PS: It was only afterwards that I learnt that Huppert had originally asked Dennis if she wanted to adapt Doris Lessing’s novel “The Grass is Singing” – Dennis had declined, but had told her “if you want, I have a story” and “White Material was born. Ironically, I’d finished my first ever Doris Lessing book just a few hours earlier – a strange co-incidence.

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