"Over the past 22 years, Claire Denis (35 Shots of Rum) has built up one of the most impressive bodies of work in contemporary cinema. Her latest confronts one of her specialist topics – the aftermath of French colonialism – head on.
"White Material marks a return to West Africa, the setting of Denis’ first feature, Chocolat, and brings the star of that film, Jarmusch favourite Isaach de Bankolé, along for the wild ride. It also marks her first collaboration with the great Isabelle Huppert.
"Huppert gives a tough, physical performance as Maria Vial, the manager of a coffee plantation determined to stand her ground while everyone and everything around her is urging her to flee. The departing French forces drop survival kits, her workers walk off the land, but Maria stubbornly refuses to budge until the coffee is harvested. She claims that she only needs one week, but in such turbulent times one week can be a lifetime. As civil society degenerates into chaos and the government militia clashes with rebel forces on her doorstep, her situation, and that of her family, becomes increasingly desperate." (New Zealand International Film Festival 2010)