Saturday, December 14, 2013

White Material (2009)


Through the magic of Netflix.com, last night I continued my Isabelle Huppert film fest, which began last week with In Another Country (2012), by watching White Material (2009), in which the charming actress plays a woman fighting for her ex-husband's coffee plantation in Africa, as the unnamed country falls apart.

This is a movie about Land, and says a lot to those of us whose philosophies place importance on things like "place" and "rootedeness." The Land is not even hers, either by deed or ancestry or even birth (although her son was born on it), but she is determined not to be moved from it.


The late Roger Ebert in his White Material Movie Review & Film Summary (2010) sums up better than I could what is so alluring about this actress:
    [S]mall and slender, [she] embodies the strength of a fighter. In so many films, she is an indomitable force, yet you can't see how she does it. She rarely acts broadly. The ferocity lives within. Sometimes she is mysteriously impassive; we see what she's determined to do, but she sends no signals with voice or eyes to explain it. There is a lack of concern about our opinion; she will do it, no matter what we think her reasons are.

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