Chocolat 1988 essay
On her way, she stops to enjoy an unpopulated beach and ends up obtaining a ride into the city from the only other people on the beach, William "Mungo" Park Emmet Judson Williamson and his son.
But what is most important about the story are the things the young girl could not have known, or could have understood only imperfectly. Silent observation becomes a powerful and highly articulate space. Parallels are also suggested in identities and relationships among France, her mother, Mungo and Protee: e. An old man tells him about the problems with the lions and he offers help through military. Just as these characters are trapped in their remote surroundings, they are also trapped in their roles as wife, servant, child, colonialist and so on. It is about how racism can prevent two people from looking each other straight in the eyes, and how they punish each other for the pain that causes them. Did this fantasy put her in closer communion with her mother? Not surprisingly, this visual commentary also clues us into larger metaphoric meanings regarding Cameroon, France, colonialism and the politics of desire. Cameroon , located on the west coast of central Africa, is home to more than 11 million people representing some ethnic groups, including Bamileche, Fulani, Douala, Eurondo, and Fang. While not one word is spoken throughout this entire scene, Denis reveals that the very layout of the colonial house with the servants on display is charged with desire. Two French songs are sung throughout the flashback scene without any instrumentation and once more pointing out the separation of the colonialists and the colonized that will be examined a bit later. No African-American would have chosen to come settle in the country of his ancestors under colonial rule. In his position as a French official he has to mediate colonial interests and interests of his subordinates. Upon seeing them, he leans back and stifles a cry as he smashes his elbow against the wall behind him.
But, nonetheless, he is not able to really get in touch with the natives. The final image in Chocolat is another long static shot, the frame divided in half once again by the horizon.
The following shot blurs this division.
Chocolat 1988 analysis
At an isolated outpost of the provincial government, a young girl lives with her father and mother and many Africans, including Protee, the houseboy, who embodies such dignity and intelligence that he confers status upon himself in a society that will allow him none. The film is important both because it's Denis' directorial debut and because it's portrayed from the perspective of a female ex-coloniser. Daily life for the young girl is a little lonely, but she shares secrets with Protee, too, and as she moves around the compound she has glimpses of a vast, unknown reality reaching out in all directions from the little patch of alien French society that has been planted there. Alain Belmondo and Gerard Crosnier. France is gone, but somehow we have retained her its perspective. Luc Jean-Claude Adelin shows up with one of the French families who arrive to help the Dalens dig a runway for a flyer whose airplane made an emergency landing in their remote part of Cameroon. The extended shots of a silent landscape run parallel to the silence shared by Protee and France, both culturally disempowered subjects — France as a child; Protee as an African servant. Did this fantasy put her in closer communion with her mother? The film tries not to explain this specific rejection of Park as Denis — as a white French woman — is not willing to draw from a point of view she can not possess — that of an African. The film is set in a French colony in West Africa in the days when colonialism was already doomed, but no one realized it yet. Ultimately then, even the film's supposedly private moments happen under someone else's gaze. Before they part, Mungo asks to see France's hands so that he can read her palms. Denis works to highlight this by mapping out the house in terms of racial spaces, which are also demarcated as public or private ones.
Just as these characters are trapped in their remote surroundings, they are also trapped in their roles as wife, servant, child, colonialist and so on. Three black men smoke and laugh as an unexpected burst of rain passes through.
Daily life for the young girl is a little lonely, but she shares secrets with Protee, too, and as she moves around the compound she has glimpses of a vast, unknown reality reaching out in all directions from the little patch of alien French society that has been planted there.
Luc seems to be fully enjoying the shower in a sensual way, as if—even with no one around—he is enjoying the fact that he is showering in a public space that he is not expected to be in, a colonial space within which tension and desire inevitably lie. Thus Chocolat ends, suggesting that not much has changed in Cameroon.
It is at this remark that France finally seems to warm to Mungo and asks if he would like to have a drink with her. In this sense, cinema becomes the privileged vehicle for the representation of colonial power because it can show how the field of the visible articulates power relations and relations of desire—and, of course, their intermingled nature.
Like an Edith Wharton novel, Chocolat appropriates the conventions of a romance plot to comment on restrictive social structures, specifically the complexities of a colonial system that simultaneously dehumanizes and hypersexualizes the colonized, while also degrading the colonizer.
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