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"Chocolate" Compare The Book To The Movie

1258 words - 5 pages

Lasse Hallstrom displays the events of "Chocolat" effectively in the film version of the 1999 novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. Europe is renowned for its fine chocolates, so the title suits the French setting well. The main theme in both the film and the novel is social equity and many aspects of this theme are displayed in "Chocolat". There are a number of other themes represented such as domestic violence, community spirit (both good and bad), the church v witchcraft, racial discrimination, and the role of women in society, euthanasia and food.Joanne Harris' husband was the inspiration for Chocolat. Annoyed that he was watching the footy on TV Harris asked him what he thought was the female equivalent of football. His answer was "chocolate", which resulted in Harris writing a novel based around the theme of chocolate.The story is narrated by two of the characters. Vianne Rocher a stranger in the town and Pere Francis Reynaud town Mayor/Catholic Priest the both give their own version of events as they unfold.The novel and the film describe the stranger Vianne Rocher and her six year old daughter Anouk arrival in the village of Lansquent with the north wind on Shrove Tuesday. Tired of wandering, Anouk begs her mother to stay. Vianne and Anouk move into a shop across the road from the church and open a chocolate shop. Vianne is a single parent, who contrary to the rest of the village does not attend church. Everyone in the town is astounded by Vianne's actions and her way of life. She opens her own chocolate shop right in the middle of Lent a holy time of self-discipline for the Catholic Church. From the moment Vianne sees Reynaud you know there is going to be some tension between the two of them.When Vianne opens her chocolate shop her window display upsets Reynaud even more. In the window is a dark chocolate witch and an iced gingerbread house surrounded by chocolate animals. Reynaud thinks Vianne is a witch. He is determined to make her leave his village.Vianne Rocher is not particularly religious. She places rock salt and bread by her front door to scare away evil spirits. She can guess every customer's favourite chocolate and she hands out samples of her chocolate to members of the community. She also tries to help people in the community: Guillaume who loves his dying old dog, Joséphine who is being abused by her violent husband, the gypsies who want to visit and do not intent to cause trouble, and Armande who wants to see her grandson who is being kept from her by her own daughter. She hands out her chocolates and they seem to fix everyone's problems almost magically.Reynaud wants to protect his community from everything that Vianne represents. The villagers aren't supposed to be indulging in anything such as chocolate during Lent a time of fasting and denying any form of indulgence. Reynaud tells villagers in church not to visit Viannes chocolate shop. But Vianne still has many customers. Everyone is intrigued the chocolate...

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