We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Of all the places I have visited, Africa is the place where the land exudes the greatest sadness and joy. Outside the great cities, the savanna seems ageless, and in the places where man has built his outposts, he seems to huddle in the center of a limitless space.
The land seems smaller at night than during the day. The horizon draws closer, containing strange rustlings and restlessness and the coughs of wild beasts, and voices carry a great distance - much farther than the lights from the veranda.
"Chocolat" evokes this Africa better than any other film I have ever seen. It knows how quiet the land can be, so that thoughts can almost be heard - and how patient, so that every mistake is paid for sooner or later. 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. 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 story is told partly through the eyes of the young girl, and the film opens in the present, showing her as an adult in 1988, going back to visit her childhood home. But what is most important about the story are the things the young girl could not have known, or could have understood only imperfectly. And the central fact is that Protee is the best man, the most capable man, in the district, and that her mother and Protee feel a strong sexual attraction to one another.