White Material

Amid the tumult of helicopters urging French nationals to flee for their safety and well-being, a French family struggles to save its coffee plantation. Pulled in competing directions, confused by the pace of events that unfold both within their compound and out on the streets of the neighbouring village, they have been labelled “white material,” and local radio stations warn that their day is over. Surrounded by the violence and chaos of civil war, they find themselves virtually powerless against the forces of history that swirl around them. With this threat of impending disaster as a backdrop, Denis uses her significant skill to tell the story of Maria (Isabelle Huppert), manager of the Café Vial plantation, who fights desperately to keep her life and business together. With her ex-husband at her side and her son violently propelled into the action, Maria must draw on all her resources to survive. At the same time, a legendary black hero, the Boxer (Isaach De Bankolé), also finds that his world has been turned upside down. Inevitably, the two are fated to meet. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

Ma’ George

A woman torn between her African culture and new life in America struggles to give her husband the son who will carry on his family’s legacy.

The Limits of Control

The Limits of Control is the story of a mysterious loner (played by Mr. De Bankolé), a stranger, whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. He is in the process of completing a job, yet he trusts no one, and his objectives are not initially divulged. His journey, paradoxically both intently focused and dreamlike, takes him not only across Spain but also through his own consciousness.

Where the Road Runs Out

A story about a Rotterdam-based respected scientist and lecturer who has grown weary of the world of academia. The sudden death of an old friend who has been running a field research station in Africa gives him the incentive he needs to turn his back on his academia and return to his African roots. Arriving in Equatorial Guinea he finds the field station in a state of disrepair. Through a local boy Jimi, his jaded eyes are opened to the possibilities of life there. Jimi also introduces him to Corina who runs the local orphanage and a tentative but heartfelt romance begins. With the unexpected arrival of George’s old friend Martin, George discovers there are many obstacles on the road to redemption… and many more where the road runs out.

Mirage (2014)

Francis Boyo is an African substitute forward for a Second League football team in a small town in Romania. After a lost match, he is caught in the middle of a match-fixing scandal and has to flee. Albert, an underworld acquaintance, convinces Francis to go to a farm deep in the Hungarian Puszta, run by a Romanian stockman called Cisco, to find refuge. But when he arrives, he realizes that the farm might not be such a safe haven after all. [Synopsis courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival]


Philippe Lacôte’s first fiction feature, Run, builds on his remarkable 2008 documentary Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast as it refracts the last two decades of his country’s blood-drenched history through the experiences of a young man drawn into the spiral of political violence. Born into a country mired in wars and corruption, the film’s protagonist has been on the run all his life — hence his name, Run (Abdoul Karim Konaté).

Interspersed with flashbacks that follow Run’s twenty-year trajectory from country boy to political militant to assassin, the film explores how violence’s twisted logic takes hold of a society, and how an individual can slip to the far side of reason. When Run enters the church dressed in the tattered clothes of a vagabond — the perfect camouflage in a city where so many unfortunates roam the streets unnoticed — he is not only in disguise: he has been transformed from within. [Synopsis courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival]

OKA! (2011)

25 years ago, ethnomusicologist Louis Sarno traveled from New Jersey to the forests of Central Africa to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies. He fell in love with the people, their music, their lifestyle – and a local girl. Despite his failing health and the harsh realities of life in the village, he follows the Bayaka into the heart of the forest.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he’d only visited in his mind.