White Material

A Study of a Singular Woman: A Review of ‘White Material’

White Material, 2009

‘White Material’ is about Maria Vial, a white Frenchwoman striving, in the face of mounting hostilities, to secure the coffee plantation she manages. French troops are assigned to evacuate their nationals but she refuses to leave the land she considers home. Superbly played by Isabelle Huppert, Maria is a profoundly complex character. Whether hanging on to the back of a bus heaving with humanity, or applying red lipstick as the world around her goes up in flames, her tenacity is shown to be incontestable and remarkable.