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White Material [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Classification: 15
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 6, 2010
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0042AEU5K[/amazon-product] Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

The overwhelming malaise of the African heat, the aftereffects of European colonialism, racial tensions between blacks and whites, civil war  — Claire Denis’ (35 Shots of Rum) White Material captures all of these things inherent to the African continent without ever devolving into a preachy narrative. White Material, its very title a reference to a derogatory term used in the film by black Africans to describe white Africans, is like an impressionist painting come to life, concerning itself with the unobtainable emotion of situations, rather than the specifics of detail in what is a series of set pieces so enthralling it captivates the eyes, mind, and spirit.

Focusing on the white Frenchwoman Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert) and her family’s coffee plantation in the middle of an unnamed African nation on the verge of a civil war, White Material follows their struggle to save one last crop before all chaos breaks out. Adding to her challenge is the arrival of a local rebel hero known as The Boxer (Isaach De Bankolé), who arrives on the plantation seeking to tarry awhile to recover from a life threatening gunshot wound.

A nearly perfect film that explores the politics of Africa by somehow never getting political, Denis’ lens is a beautiful eye on the place that is simply looked upon as a tumultuous home, like anywhere else in the world. It’s a riveting, must-see film that will uplift the mind and soul.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The transfer of White Material is a strong one, capturing all the subtleties of the film’s visual palette in its AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding. White Material isn’t necessarily spectacular looking itself, due to the nature of its photography, but its diffuse, artistic palette render a visualization of the African continent that this Blu-ray puts forth in an unhindered, filmic manner.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

With a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that’s extremely subtle, the soundtrack for White Material isn’t necessarily a home theatre showcase, but there is a good use of the surround channels for atmospheric sounds and the dialogue is clean and full.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

There’s not much to prop up the release, so it has to stand on the strength of its content alone. Fortunately, it is strong enough not to require a laundry list of supplements to keep purchasers from feeling the pinch on this purchase.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Interview with Claire Denis and Christophe Lambert (1.78:1; 1080i/50)
  • Trailer (2.35:1; 1080i/50)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

White Material is marvelous film work for Claire Denis and its made even more potent on home video by this solid Blu-ray edition from Artificial Eye.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0042AEU5K[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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