And how we write poems through objects we own. Though flimsy is the boundary, the positions of object and subject are delicately permeable, personhood so well removed by declarations of “...MY son.” Emphasis on the ‘my.’ Maria’s son inherits his mother’s illness, and he dies though, he did swallow many pills among those fearless young rascals. Nevertheless, there is simply no cure for blue eyes.
o fim dos mitos. a relação entra as raças se escancara como comércio (o isqueiro dourado, os dólares, a corrente dourada). white material é o som insuportável do conflito. um limite extremo em que não há reconhecimento. um mundo colonizado condenado à repetição deste processo.
The most interesting and ultimately tragic character in Denis's film is Maria's son. He will never belong in the country where he was born. It will always spit him out. It's a smart understanding of the legacies of colonialism. Not sure the rest of Denis's film is as smart, even though it features a reliably nuanced Huppert performance.
An apocalyptic rebuttal to 'Out of Africa'? Elliptical and arresting, a literal and then metaphorical depiction of rebellions cycles and caustic violence. It ends with a dedication to the 'rascally dogs' but doesn't depict them with much adoration. At its strongest when its silent, which is around eighty percent of the film.
Could it be that WM poses a question more ephemeral than is colonialism bad? Such as, what would you do if personal will or instinct is in conflict with larger political agendas? I find attempts to explain away the psychology of this film lacking. Is Huppert, so resolute, noble in another context, ignorant or defiant? Agnes is missed, but in this Denis the motive surpasses aesthetic in a mysterious manner.
"She was trying to save not only her pride, but her belief, a strange belief, that she was accepted there. A belief that she was not home, but accepted; even if there was a civil war, she was not an enemy, she was a part of that land. Therefore, when the mayor tells her — it’s your fault, remember, you’re white material, you’re different – people would never trust you completely, for that reason." -Claire Denis
There are too few (good) movies made about the consequences and unraveling of colonialism in Africa but “White Material” is one such. It tells a story of a woman who can't see that her position is unjust and who wants everything to be as it was in a country falling into chaos. "White" show what kind of powers can take over when colonialist injustices start to unwound. A gut-wrenching but intellectual movie.