Watch White on White
- 1 hr 40 min
White on White is a powerful drama film from 2019, directed by ThÃ©o Court, that tells the story of a photographer who is hired to capture the wedding of a young couple in Tierra del Fuego, Chile, at the beginning of the 20th century. This film is an intimate and mesmerizing journey into the unseen side of colonialism and the devastating effects of the white man's arrival in South America.
The photographer, played by renowned Chilean actor Alfredo Castro, arrives in the small village of San SebastiÃ¡n determined to capture the stunning landscapes and the purity of the indigenous people that inhabit it. He is immediately struck by the severe conditions of the place, as well as the lack of resources and the harsh treatment that the indigenous people receive from the white settlers.
He soon meets and falls for the beautiful and mysterious fiancÃ©e of the wealthy landowner who hired him, played by Lola Rubio. After a failed attempt to photograph their intimacy, the photographer becomes obsessed with the woman and starts to see her as his muse, using her as a model in a twisted game of power and control.
The film is shot in a stunning black and white color palette, which contrasts with the bleakness of the surroundings and the ugliness of the actions of the colonizers. Court's direction is meticulous, creating a sense of tension and claustrophobia that permeates every frame of the film. The snow and ice of the landscape mirror the inner turmoil of the characters, while the silence of the place serves as a metaphor for the silence that the natives have been forced to keep for centuries.
One of the most brilliant aspects of the film is the way it explores the complex dynamics of power and violence in colonialism. The interactions between the white settlers and the natives are full of discomfort and unease, with the former displaying an ardent sense of entitlement and a complete disregard for the lives and traditions of the latter. The indigenous people are viewed as exotic props, to be used for the amusement or pleasure of the Europeans, or else treated as inconvenient obstacles to be ignored or removed.
The title of the film refers to the purity and whiteness that the photographer aims to capture in his images, but also to the way that he perceives himself and his role as a white man in a foreign land. The film asks crucial questions about the violence of colonization and the way that it has shaped the world we live in today, forcing the viewer to contemplate their complicity in the oppression of marginalized communities.
The performances in White on White are simply outstanding. Alfredo Castro gives a haunting performance as the photographer, conveying a mixture of fascination and horror at the reality around him. Lola Rubio is mesmerizing as the bride-to-be, a complex and mysterious character caught between tradition and modernity. Lars Rudolph plays the landowner with equal amounts of charm and menace, creating a character that is both sympathetic and repulsive.
Overall, White on White is a deeply affecting and thought-provoking film that tackles one of the thorniest issues of our time with grace and sensitivity. It is a meditation on the destructive power of colonialism, the way that it affects not only the colonized but also those who engage in it, and the desperate need for empathy and understanding in a world that is all too often defined by cruelty and indifference.
White on White is a 2022 art house & international movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1 and a MetaScore of 84.