Claire Denis Double Feature! The director’s remarkable debut CHOCOLAT presents a rich tapestry of memories as a French woman recounts her youth growing up on a colonial outpost. WHITE MATERIAL is examination of race relations in a colonial environment set against the backdrop of an unspecified civil war. Program begins with a discussion with director Claire Denis.
Program begins with a discussion with director Claire Denis.
1988, Janus Films, 105 min, France/West Germany/Cameroon, Dir: Claire Denis
First time director Claire Denis became known as a bold new auteur virtually overnight with this Palme d'Or-nominated masterpiece set in the plains of Cameroon in Central Africa. Among the finest debuts of all time, CHOCOLAT presents a rich tapestry of memories as a French woman recounts her youth growing up on a colonial outpost. Told through a distinct visual style that captures the physical textures of the environment and its people, the flashbacks center on the woman’s fond memories of the family houseboy, who acted as the child’s sole source of wisdom and comfort in an otherwise corrupt social world. Starring Isaach De Bankolé and Giulia Boschi.
2009, IFC Films, 106 min, France/Cameroon, Dir: Claire Denis
Returning to the African continent on which she was raised, Claire Denis directs yet another ruminative examination of race relations in a colonial environment, this time set against the backdrop of an unspecified civil war. French farmer Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert) is given a stern warning to abandon her coffee plantation and its impending harvest and seek refuge for her family before violence begins. But stubbornness and white privilege keep Maria trudging forward, as she attempts to keep her family together while seeking the help of local workers to finish the harvest. Featuring Christopher Lambert and Isaach De Bankolé. “A striking film filled with images that sometimes reveal their full meaning only when their beauty curdles in the chain of signification.” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times.
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