Alex Crouch Global Connections Chocolat Microtheme Well for starters, I have to say that Chocolat was one

of the most involved and confusing films that I have ever seen, and I feel that any sort of analysis that I attempt will either not do it justice or misconstrue its intended meaning. It was a very deep and intricate film with multiple layers and facets, but as for the underlying meaning, I seemed to be left in the dark more often than not. With that said, I would like to focus on what seemed to me to be the most fascinating aspect of the film, the relationship between Protee and Aimee. Aimee, the French housewife brought to Africa by her husband s line of work, seems frustrated and on edge for much of the film. She seems to long for the comforts and familiarities of her homeland, and she resents at least in some way the African land she lives in (yells at the chef because he won t make French dishes). Much of Aimee s time is spent alone without any real companion of equal standing as her husband is often away at work and she is left with her daughter and servants, neither of whom are her equal. I think this likely contributes to a lot of the frustration and perhaps loneliness that Aimee is feeling. Protee on the other hand is the trusted house-servant, which is the highest role for a slave. Protee by is entrusted by Marc, the father, to provide for the protection and caring of his beloved wife and daughter, no small task. The entire family, Marc, Aimee, and France recognize and appreciate Protee s admirable qualities of trustworthiness, dedication, and kindness. In many ways they recognize that he is a better man than any of the other visitors that come into their house. And

yet, there exists a barrier of race and therefore class between Protee and the family that prevents them from cultivating any sort of relationship more than that of master and slave despite the family s willingness to cross some cultural lines. The relationship between Aimee and Protee, master and slave, is set against this backdrop of cultural and normative values. When Marc is away, Aimee at times craves the presence of Protee. One particularly poignant scene shows Aimee asking Protee for assistance in buttoning up her dress. As Protee is helping her, the two catch a glimpse of each other s eyes in the mirror and share a meaningful yet awkward moment, and Aimee quickly averts her eyes. Protee is an attractive man and Aimee seems to have at least some sort of attraction to him, but she is unwilling to fully cross the line because it would be wrong. It seems unclear how Protee feels towards Aimee, but he is undoubtedly loyal to her service and is willing to serve her despite the shame it brings him (he breaks down and cries in the shower). One night after Protee gets in an altercation with the visitor Luc, Aimee is kneeling on the ground in a position of vulnerability when she grabs Protee s leg romantically. Protee immediately grabs her firmly, picks her up, places her on her feet, and walks out. I don t know if Protee was attracted to Aimee, (I know he had a fiancée) but either way he was unwilling to cross the line with her. Whatever level of relationship they wished to have with each other, it was prevented by their statuses that did not allow their conversing in anything outside a hierarchical nature.