Living in South Africa and having to confront on a day-to-day basis many of the postcolonial issues that Denis explores, I found this film amongst the most politically subtle and astute films about colonisation that I have ever seen. Even in a post-Apartheid South Africa, racial and class relationships are frequently as polarizing as they're presented here. An intensely relevant film.
One of those debuts that carries the oeuvre to come without looking too grandiose about it; then again, Denis has made a career out of small details, habitats and habits that, through repetition, gain a sense of momentum. On this round I noticed how her performers tend to act with their entire bodies. Expressions other filmmakers would put in close-up stretch down to the feet.
An iconic debut. Honest. Denis understands, and remembers, the role of colonization in Africa and the fractured, communal experiences it can stir up from the grit. Isaach de Bankolé in his prime!!!!!!!!!1111
Chocolat is an examination of the relationship between the coloniser and the colonised. What I find particularly interesting is that whilst the differences created by class and race are palpable between master and servant, they are only brought to light, when an outsider french family fully expresses their contempt for the colonised.
An absolute masterpiece. The long takes, wide angles and autonomy of each shot allow a willfulness of style without didacticism or rhythmic interruption; the zooms and tracks are both individually assertive and totally subsumed into the larger tapestry. That's what you can pull off when you make authorial self-conscious your central mode.
We regard children as slight in the world but often they look at things with a more discerning eye than we could hope for. How to explain to them the world we have constructed, what their place in it means? Young France skirts around the events of the film but thankfully she will forever be scarred but what she learns. Sometimes life is as obvious as it seems to a child. Gorgeous, haunting film.