A favorite of the films critics in 2009, White Material brings two unique women together for the first time;Claire Denis, the existentialist director of Trouble Every Day , and the legendary Isabelle Huppert.
The film is about the struggle of Maria Vial to run her family's coffee plantation in an unnamed African country, which is torn apart by civil war. Obsessively attached to the land, Maria ignores all warnings to flee the country to get her coffee crop harvested.
In 2005, Smith wrote that “a side from their striking visual quality and formal dexterity, Denis' films exude tender affection for, and solidarity with, a range of everyday people – exiles, immigrants, sexual transgressives and alienated urban dwellers – who thrive on the margins of society” . White Material, the local term for colonials, adds to this solidarity; this time both with the black and white citizens of the fictive country.
Smith, Damon. "L’Intrus: An Interview with Claire Denis".Senses of Cinema. 35 (Apr. 2005).