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
French Cameroon or French Cameroons was a League of Nations Mandate territory in Central Africa. It now forms part of the independent country of Cameroon. See more »
When you look at the hills, beyond the houses and beyond the trees, where the earth touches the sky, that's the horizon. Tomorrow, in the daytime, I'll show you something. The closer you get to that line, the farther it moves. If you walk towards it, it moves away. It flees from you. I must also explain this to you. You see the line. You see it, but it doesn't exist.
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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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