CHEVALIER* * * * (Joyce) * * * ½ (Don)Biographical Drama
We have learned much history by watching biographical dramas based on real people who have led …
* * * * (Joyce) * * * ½ (Don)
We have learned much history by watching biographical dramas based on real people who have led interesting lives.
Joseph Bologne is one such historical figure. Called the “Black Mozart”, and labeled the Chevalier of the French court, he was an accomplished violinist and composer who both lived a privileged life in the court of Marie Antoinette and endured extreme prejudice in the French society.
Chevalier was the son of a Black slave and white plantation owner, born in the Caribbean and taken at an early age to France to be schooled in music and fencing.
Subjected to abuse and racism, he rose above it all, having convinced himself that he was special and gifted.
As an adult, he is befriended by the queen, falls in love with an opera diva, whose husband is jealous and vindictive, is refused the position of head of the Paris Opera and dismissed by his peers.
We learn at the end of the movie that he became involved in the French Revolution.
Kelvin Harrison Jr. is excellent as the title character, showing his talent, determination, arrogance, rebelliousness, disrespect, and flaming ego.
We also learn that while much of his music was disregarded for years, and some of it destroyed, he is only now being rediscovered.
The costumes and music are highlights of the film, which occasionally takes some liberties, especially in the role of the queen who seems to show up everywhere there is anything involving Chevalier.
BEAU IS AFRAID
The publicists call this confusing movie a comedy while it depicts a paranoic, disturbed man (Joaquin Phoenix) surrounded by maniacs, a sick mother, murderers, monsters, and maniacal mothers.
We first meet Beau coming out of his mother’s womb in a psychedelic opening that sets the disturbance level high.
Next, he is in his psychiatrist’s office talking about his mother, taking pills, and planning to fly to her home.
His journey is delayed by mayhem in the street, weirdos taking over his slum apartment, a strange man on the ceiling falling on him in the bathtub, someone stealing his keys, running through the crime-ridden streets naked, getting hit by a truck, and ending up in the house of strangers (and are they strange!)
Following me so far?
He continues his journey while having one continuous panic attack as he learns that his mother has had her head cut off and he has to be there for the funeral.
He is attacked by people with knives, ends up in the woods with forest people who are putting on a play. Is it about him? Who knows?
Beau eventually finds his way home to be greeted by his mother, learning that his father is alive and in the attic.
More mumble jumble.
I’ll bet you can’t wait to see this one.