The plot is propelled forward through the flashbacks of a woman named France travelling around the outskirts of Cameroon, who manages to get a lift from an African American man passing by. While on the road, she is flooded with the memories of her childhood and reminisces about the time when her father was the Colonial Administrator of Cameroon, which forms the subsequent parts of the story. The entire story is told from the perspective of young France, who is befriended by their handsome African servant, Protée.France has a beautiful companionship with the houseboy, but unbeknownst to her, her young, attractive mother harbours romantic feelings for Protée, which are hinted to be mutual and serves as the prime complication in the story. Her desire for Protée is further escalated by the fact that her husband, France’s father is scarcely present around the house. The house is set in a remote locale, in order to fully focus on the emotional development of a handful of characters. The sexual tension between Aimee and Protée is a fundamental theme throughout the story, because Aimee cultivated such desires for a man who was not anywhere close to her race.She was the colonist, whereas Protée was the slave; in the eyes of the society, any kind of courtship or romance was completely out of question and was tabooed by the then-society. The African slaves were reduced to a status of a sub-human form and were denied privacy, whilst their Colonial Lords had every single ounce of that luxury. Protée often bathed in the open, while he was being silently watched by Aimee. It is ostensible that Aimee developed her sexual desires for him because of these minor occurrences and the absence of her husband led to the mounting of her sexual frustration.Even when finally Aimee plucks up the courage to act out on her desires, her advances are rejected by Protée and searing with the hurt of rejection, she asks her husband to get rid of Protée. This is an overt display of colonial power on part of Aimee. In order to nurse her wounded pride following Protée’s rejection, she uses her authority to punish him and gets rid of him. Protée, like many of his other fellow Africans had indeed internalized the inferior role that had been given to them by their colonizers.Moreover, he was fully aware of how Aimee had come to develop these amorous feelings for him. The blacks even in that era were sexualized
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Murphy, K. (1992). “The Color of Home: Blacks and Whites in the films of Claire Denis”. Film Comment: p. 68
Schwarz, A. (2012). “Chocolat (1988) by Claire Denis: A case-study for race and Representation in German and European cinema. Santa Cruz: GRIN Verlag.
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