White Material
White Material

White Material

Director Claire Denis

Production year 2009

Length 100min.

Country Cameroon/France


Maria, a fierce and fearless white woman, refuses to abandon her coffee crops, and to acknowledge the danger to which she is exposing her family. For her, to leave is to surrender. At the plantation, which has already supported three generations of whites, André, her ex-husband and father of their teenage son, is fearful of her blind, stubborn pride. Without her knowing, he arranges the family’s escape back to France. Coffee no longer means anything to him. He has married again, to a young African woman, with whom he has a son – and for them, he will stop at nothing. 


Claire Denis
Claire Denis



Pascal Caucheteux


Claire Denis, Marie N'Diaye, Lucie Bortleteau

Director of Photography

Yves Cape

Production designer

Abiassi Saint-Père

Music by

Stuart Staples, Tindersticks


Jean-Paul Mugel, Christophe Winding


Guy Lecorne


Isabelle Huppert, Christoph Lambert, Adele Ado, Isaach de Bankolé, Nicolas Duvanchelle, Michel Subor

Production company(ies)

Why Not Productions, Wild Bunch, France 3 Cinéma

Claire Denis

Born 1948, Paris. Claire Denis is a Paris-based filmmaker and one of the major artistic voices of contemporary French cinema. Born in Paris, she spent her childhood and formative years traveling across Africa. It was the wish of her father, a colonial administrator, to teach his children the importance of geography. This experience underlies her interest in national identity and the legacy of French colonialism. After a disappointment in studying economics, Claire Denis enrolled in the Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques (now École Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l'Image et du Son) where she graduated in 1971. At the beginning of her film career, she worked as assistant director to Dušan Makavejev, Costa Gavras, Jacques Rivette, Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders. Claire Denis made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 1988 with Chocolat, a lush exploration of colonial life and emotional conflicts West Africa of the 1950s, viewed through the eyes of a young French girl. The film, inspired by Denis’ own experiences in Africa, proved to be a very auspicious debut – screened at Cannes the same year and earned both a Golden Palm nomination and a César nomination for Best New Director. Later Clair Denis in fact became one of the best directors of modern French cinema.


Chocolate (1988), Man No Run (1989); S'en fout la mort (1990); Keep It for Yourself (1991); Contre l'oubli (segment Pour Ushani Ahmed Mahmoud, Sudan, 1991); Boom-Boom (1994), J'ai pas sommeil (1994); À propos de Nice, la suite (segment Nice, Very Nice, 1995); Nenette and Boni (1996); Good Work (1999); Trouble Every Day (2001); Friday Night (2002); Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (segment Vers Nancy, 2002); L’Intrus/The Intruder (2004); Vers Mathilde (2005) 35 Shots of Rum (2008); White Material (2009)

FILMS 2010