A film by Roschdy Zem

Cast: Omar Sy, James Thierrée, Clotilde Hesme

From circus to theater, from bien unknown to being famous the incredible destiny of the clown chocolat, first black artist/clown in France in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. Chocolat formed a unique duo with the know clown named Footti, which they had a huge success In Paris (La belle époque) before fame, easy money, the game and the  discrimination, the film traces the history of this extraordinary artist.


Roschdy Zem offers us so a biopic, a couple, probably unknown to many even if the shows they have created are now famous and unanimously recognized. We discover Rafael Padilla (Omar Sy), former slave, orphan, became domestic in the service of white people and humiliated by them. The director shows us how Rafael in a circus in the province where he was being exploited until he meet a clown named Footti (James Thierrée the grand child of Charlie chaplin) who needed a new act a duo. When he gets noticed from some man from Paris Oller (Olivier Gourmet) who offer them a job at Le cirque de Paris. Their career flourish the duo performs slap-stick comedy and became famous aver night, but it comes with a price.


The world is lac and white which Rafael came to find out. He has his demons prostitutes, gambling, drinking and spending money like it was water. It is a story of racism where Rafael is struggling and even humiliated at times. The world he escaped from to come to France is not different where he came from. Rafael and Footi has invented the sip-stick screw-ball comedy routine which it has been copy all aver the world. It is a story that many of us here did not know, I sure din’t until I saw the film. Nice job by Zem here who shows us the rise and downfall of Rafael. James Thierrée who is an acrobat/dancer hold his own as well as Omar Shy they made the perfect duo here.



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