Isabelle Huppert is one of those actresses that you know is a force to be reckoned with the second you set eyes on her. I first saw her in Hal Hartley's The Amateur with a pageboy haircut I promptly copied and a sophisticated intensity that should have made her a star stateside. Unfortunately, Uma Thurman stole her haircut in Pulp Fiction and Huppert's career never really took off here. Huppert was already legendary in France and is finally (and justifiably) creating major buzz here for her performance in White Material as a French expatriate struggling to hold on to her African coffee farm amid political chaos--a woman so desperately and stubbornly clinging to her land and identity that she is blind to the tragedy awaiting her family. The film is so tense, so full of dread...and Huppert's performance so completely inscrutable that it drives you to the edge of your seat wondering what in the world she could be thinking. I can think of plenty of movies in which an actress or actor really carries it, but it's pretty rare to see a film that is totally embodied by its star. Huppert truly makes a case for this in White Material, playing at the Modern Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St. 6 and 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8.50, or $6.50 for Modern members. Visit themodern.org/magnolia.html.
Fri., Feb. 11, 6 & 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 12, 5 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 13, 12, 2 & 4 p.m., 2011