A young French woman returns to the vast silence of West Africa to contemplate her childhood days in a colonial outpost in Cameroon. Her strongest memories are of the family's houseboy, ... See full summary »
A young French woman returns to the vast silence of West Africa to contemplate her childhood days in a colonial outpost in Cameroon. Her strongest memories are of the family's houseboy, Protee - a man of great nobility, intelligence and beauty - and the intricate nature of relationships in a racist society. Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
A lovely comedy-drama that seems like a gorgeous, sunlit, Orientalist-like tourism into an unfathomable Africa, and an elaborate, irrelevant exercise in Merchant-Ivory-style historical reconstruction, but is actually a quietly disturbing examination of the effects of colonialism. Being French, the focus is one the microcosmic - it's not vast historical truths that are enacted, but the inability of a beautiful white woman to act on sexual stirrings for her black servant. The film's surface elegance conceals remarkable disruptions in point of view and a storytelling style so elliptical you might even miss the point if you're not careful. CHOCOLAT is also a wonderful coming-of-age film that refuses the easy moral progress typical of the genre. The lengthy coda could have been shorter, though.
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