“White Material,” a film that was lauded at the Venice Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival and other fests, has just landed in Portland, so I’m excited.
Though the trailer shows that it’s not going to be any kind of feel-good. Maybe that’s why we don’t hear much about coffee from Cameroon.
In “White Material,” acclaimed French actress Isabelle Huppert plays Maria Vial, a coffee farm owner in Cameroon who, caught in the middle of political strife, is doing all she can not to abandon the farm where she built her life and family. “Frightened native laborers one by one desert her, as the troops close in on the rebel leader and his army of rugged child soldiers. But Huppert digs her heels in, almost blind to the danger which is about to destroy her household,” reads one review.
It’s directed by Claire Denis (director of “Chocolat”) who was raised in Africa. Denis has said that she was inspired by Doris Lessing’s novel “The Grass is Singing” about racial relations in what is now Zimbabwe.
It looks really rough and violent and heart-wrenching—perfect holiday fare for those of you sick of hearing the same damn Christmas carols in every store, theater, bar, and yes, even cafe, you walk into.