We love the Blog of the Film the words of Robert Redford : “A good film, it’s a good story, characters and emotions”. These criteria are largely fulfilled for CHOCOLATE, the fourth achievement of Roschdy Zem after BodyBuilder, Omar me to kill and Bad Faith. The story, inspired by the reality, is that the first clown noir in France at the beginning of the Twentieth century, recounting its success and its forfeiture. The characters are Rafael Padilla, said Chocolate (Omar Sy), and Footit (James Thiérée), the other half of his duo. As to emotions, they are the ones provided by the course, the transformation and the dating of Chocolate throughout the film.
CHOCOLATE is happening in the world of the circus and has this magic that he brings us back to our soul of the innocent child, whose eyes shone and the heart laughed at the sight of clowns. But it takes us well beyond this layer of glitter. It gives us the opportunity to see, in a way of fiction, a behind-the-scenes sometimes close to the sewer and misery. Such a lap on the track of a circus, in a joyous music and ubiquitous, we meet with Rafael Padilla under his first stage name : Kananga. He is in blackface as a wild and its role is especially to be afraid of in the circus of Monsieur Delvaux (the delicious Frédéric Pierrot). The director took the party to share with us the life of the community, the trailers, the interviews of the artists, the jealousies and the negotiations of carpet merchant to reach a meager salary.
Footit see this big guy and he proposes an association of clowns. Monster visionary and ambitious, he learns to move on, to receive the slaps and kicks in the ass. Has to make people laugh. Their number revolutionary duo is noticed by the director-Oller (always just Olivier Gourmet) of the Palace of Pantomime in Paris. If their ascent is dizzying, the apprehension of our two heroes is quite different. Footit is described as a sad, sire demanding at work, conscious of a top of the displays ephemeral, do have fun on stage. Chocolate discovers the money and the pleasures of life that go with them : the women, the fashion, the cars, the game. Such a chrysalis that became a butterfly and that, too close to the light, burns its wings, he will fall in love with Marie (Clotilde Hesme, in a role a little too deep set for it).
The last third of CHOCOLATE is a true feat in terms of staging. From the imprisonment of his character, Roschdy Zem closer to the drama of the intimate of Chocolate, which will be under the heart to laugh. It will take more violently aware of her skin color in a white world, which is not yet ready, in the colonial era, to treat him as an equal.
“CHOCOLATE has left us with eyes bright with emotion and heartbroken in the face of the extraordinary journey of a clown became a free man.”
CHOCOLATE is certainly a film about a professional friendship extraordinary, but it is also a reflection on the power of others and manipulation. The chance of life has meant that Chocolate, without reference, undergoes in turn the influence of Footit, and then that of Mary and Victor, this haitian met in prison. Each in their way, they accuse each other of the worst : Chocolate would be the thing and make the most of the Footit, he would be distracted by Marie, it would be in the pay of the whites in agreeing to make the numbers degrading treatment. Where Chocolate would only be one artist, some want to embark in their cause.
Thanks to a few round-trip in the reminiscence of the life of Padilla child in Cuba, which will allow us to understand how he lived there resounds in him, the film poses a fundamental question : can we escape his fate ? CHOCOLATE deals with the risks that we take and the mistakes to try to be yourself and not be what others want either. A movie on how to find its place in not just what the company deigns to leave us.
Of course, we know that Roschdy Zem has taken a few liberties with the life of the real Chocolate in order to better serve the scenario. It was explained during our meeting (see our interview). But he manages to conjure up brilliantly the way in which Chocolate became Padilla, a man who frees himself from his bonds and suffer more. A man who chooses his fate.
The two interpreters of CHOCOLATE are extraordinary : Omar Sy has a role magnificent and gives his character a depth incomparable. His alter ego James Thiérée, grandson of Charlie Chaplin, brings both physical intensity and melancholy to Footit.
Such as children that we were, again, our eyes shining with emotion at the release of this magnificent film, a portrait without a shadow of a time and charismatic characters. Our broken hearts and our brains were not forgotten, captivated by beauty and with the desire to rediscover details by reviewing the movie a second time : the beauty of costumes, lights, acrobatics and historical re-enactment !
AGREE ? NOT AGREE ?
Sarah @bsarah6 – [usr 2]
#Chocolate A beautiful cast, a beautiful story, emotions and a duo
it works well for that. Without being a chef d’oeuvre ,promise kept
+ Interview with Omar Sy, and Roschdy Zem
• Achievement : Roschdy Zem
• Screenplay : Cyril Gely, based on the work of Gérard Noiriel, the adaptation of Roschdy Zem, Olivier Gorce and Gérard Noiriel
• Main actors : Omar Sy, James Thiérrée, Clotilde Hesme, Olivier Gourmet
• Country of origin : France
• Released : February 3, 2016
• Duration : 1h50min
• Distributor : Gaumont
• Synopsis : the circus in The theatre, and from anonymity to fame, the incredible destiny of the clown Chocolate, the first black artist of the French scene. The duo unheard of forms with Footit, will encounter a huge popular success in the Paris of the Belle époque before the fame, easy money, gambling and discrimination do not wear out their friendship and the career of Chocolate. The film recounts the story of this extraordinary artist.