Claire Dénis has always been a poet of mood and moment, and here succeeds in linking these skills to the creation of a story with oppressive tension and atmosphere. White Material could be her best film since Beau Travail: a disturbing piece of work whose power and grip increase, almost imperceptibly, as the film progresses to its awful and inevitable conclusion. Isabelle Huppert plays Maria Vial, a coffee farmer in an unnamed Francophone African state which is in meltdown. There is lawlessness on the streets and, as in Rwanda, radio DJs pour out inflammatory broadcasts. The colonial whites are being blamed. Every day is more dangerous for Maria, but she stubbornly refuses to leave, perhaps because she cannot imagine a life back in France, perhaps because decades of facing down quasi-insurrectionary threats from the workforce have left her unable to distinguish this grave crisis from all the other temporary mutinies.
Wednesday 13th February @ 17h00
GSA Metro: 68 Juta St, Braamfontein, JHB.