Release Year: 2016
Director: Roschdy Zem
Writers: Cyril Gely (Screenplay), Olivier Gorce (adaptation), Roschdy Zem (adaptation),
Starring: Omar Sy, James Thiérrée, Clothilde Esme, Olivier Gourmet, Frédéric Pierrot, Noémie Lvovsky, Alice de Lencquesaing, Alex Descas, Olivier Rabourdin
The story of the rise and fall of the first black cirucs clown in France, Chocolat (Omar Sy), who together with his partner Footit (James Thiérrée) reolutionized the circus and introduced the clown duo to the world.
History hides a lot of interesting stories that are now all but forgotten, and the story of the clown Chocolat is one of them. Known today mostly for Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings of him, this star of the Belle Epoque and his partner Footin revolutionized the circus clown act and became a mega star. The film probably fantasizes a bit over actual event to make a harsh and heart-renching point about racism, which is perfectly fine considering the subject matter. Omar Sy is mostly known for comic roles, in particular in Intouchables (2011), which earned him international recognition, but her he gets to show off some dramatic skills as well. He is more than matches by his clown partner Footin, played with wonderful nuance and a fantastic sense for physical comedy by Thiérrée (L’Empereur de Paris, 2018). Harsh and tragic, but interesting throughout and with great performances. Recommended.
James Thiérrée, who plays the white clown Georges Footit, is the grandson of Charlie Chaplin and is a real life circus performer as well as a violinist.