Claire Denis’s debut feature film follows a woman (Mireille Perrier) returning to her childhood home in Cameroon. She recalls memories of her government official father during the final years of French control, and her heartfelt friendship with Protée (Isaach de Bankolé), the family’s manservant. Protée’s relationship with the mother, however, is contentious and raging with sexual tension. Chocolat is loosely based on Denis’s memories of living in Africa as a child, and depicts the effects of colonialism without preaching or romanticizing the characters.
“[Denis] is astonishing. There are no dark corners in the story. Everything that happens is vivid and clear, though subject to the kind of speculation that tantalizes and rewards.” —New York Times