Claire DenisFrance105 minutes1988ColourFrench
Claire Denis' semi-autobiographical debut feature is set in 1950s French Cameroon, where eight-year-old France (Cécile Ducasse) lives with her beautiful young mother Aimée (Giulia Boschi) and her father Marc (François Cluzet), a colonial administrator. The perceptive young girl builds a friendship with the native "houseboy" Protée (Isaach De Bankolé), while a palpable sexual tension simmers between him and Aimée. When Marc invites a group of stranded French airmen to stay in the family's remote residence, it soon upsets the delicate domestic balance and exposes the inherent complications of the family's presence in this colonized land. "A film of infinite delicacy … made with the complexity and subtlety of a great short story" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times), Chocolat remains a foundational work in Denis' oeuvre for its provocative intertwining of racial and sexual politics, tactile eroticism, and extraordinary formal design.
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