Cert: 12A Year: 2016 Length: 119 mins Language: French
Cinema Handout (PDF 74KB)
Score: 84.25% Attendance: 87
An oppressed black man arrives in Europe to be met by persecution, humiliation and prejudice; a story of our time? Well, in this case, no: a story from the late 19th century. The more things change, the more they stay the same...
Chocolat (Rafael Padilla) was an ex-slave from Cuba who made his way to France via Spain. Doing odd jobs, he meets an English clown, George Footit, who takes him on and they develop the classic slapstick clown routine, with the 'edge' that it is the white man chasing the hapless black fool around. Chocolat went on to be very famous in France, but was never happy with his stereotypical role and fell into bad ways...
Taking the main role here is the marvellous Omar Sy (who we saw in 'Untouchable' in 2012): "a man with enough charisma to power the city of lights single-handed, beguiles as half of a Parisian clown act learning the prejudices of his time" - Phil Hoad, Guardian. You will also recognise James Thierrée who plays Footit - he is Charlie Chaplin's grandson and both looks and moves like him.
So expect lots of clowning around, mixed with some thought-provoking racial politics all held together by some great acting; what's not to like?!
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