Chevalier This is a biopic about the virtuoso violinist Joseph Bolong Chevalier de St. Georges, directed by Stephen Williams and written by Stephanie Robinson.
“Play Violin Concerto No. 5!” Joseph Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) screams as he steps onto the stage, confident in his abilities, ready to compete with the revered Mozart. he is screaming. Bologna breaks this violin to the applause of the French elite. His origins begin when he is purchased from the French colony of Guadeloupe and thrown into an elite all-boys boarding school by his white slave-owning father. The school should develop his talent as a violinist and swordsman. While at school, he was treated like shit, but he was given the chance to prove himself to King Louis and Marie Antionetta (Lucy Boynton), who gave him the title of Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who elevated him to the top of high society. .
The music of Bologna is the talk of the town, but he is not allowed to perform in the most prestigious halls in Paris because the color of his skin is a barrier to entry. At a party hosted by the queen, she invites him and another composer to write an opera. The winner will perform at the Paris Opera and become director of the troupe. He needs sponsors and a singer. After a short conversation, the musician gets what he needs to take first place. But an accidental romance with his opera star Maria Josephine (Samarskaya Weaving) can destroy everything he has built.
As a black man in wealthy French circles, he doesn’t have much to say or do, so he plays the violin to experience catharsis. Joseph has a false sense of reality and often confuses perfection with popularity. He thinks he is loved for his talents when people only appreciate what he can do for them. The first sexual contact with Maria Josephine is not seen as a love moment. Chris Bauer’s brilliant music hints that this action sealed his fate. His arrogance prevents him from seeing clearly. His best friend Philippe (Alex Fitzalan) tries to give him an outlet by going to London to meet other abolitionists, but refuses. Well, he learns the hard way not to be so gullible.
Production designer Karen Murphy and costumes by Oliver Garcia are breathtakingly gorgeous. No detail is left out to bring audiences back to the pinnacle of song, music and revolution. The way Williams’ camera maneuvers around Joseph while playing the violin is just great. Even the hair and makeup is tight. There are no loose strands, everything is in its place, and the production took a lot of effort to find someone to do Calvin Harrisonson Jr.’s hair, which is often lacking on sets with black characters. Robinson’s script sometimes catches the eye, but it doesn’t make him a likable character, which is refreshing.
The acting is in great shape, but Harrison and Boynton stand out. Harrison is a revelation and gets better with every performance. He chooses his projects with such care and attention – he navigates Hollywood on his own terms. Boyton shapes his version of Marie Antionette as the perfect Karen, very self-centered and anti-allied. This is her best work to date.
Chevalier it is a lesson in humility that we sometimes learn in our own way. Joseph did whatever he wanted and paid the price. He is thrown by every white man that a man craves, which crushes his ego. Joseph Bologna has been told to strive for perfection (Whiteness) and the door slams in his face when he does so. In a nutshell, this is white supremacy. However, as a result of the struggle, he gains autonomy and dignity and uses his music not to entertain white people, but as a form of rebellion.