7:30 PM, 30th November, 2023
Growing up in the French Caribbean region of Guadeloupe, Joseph Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is the illegitimate son of an enslaved Senegalese mother and a French plantation owner. When his father sends him to boarding school in Paris, Joseph exhibits a prodigious talent for fencing and music, which quickly brings him into a rarefied circle. So much so, that none other than Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) anoints him Chevalier de Saint-Georges – an incredibly elevated position for someone of his background, as jealous noblemen are quick to remind him. When racial prejudice ultimately comes between Joseph and a coveted appointment at the Paris Opera, he begins to stray from his chosen path, instead finding new kinship among the growing revolutionary movement.
Despite taking an intentionally anachronistic approach to this 18th century tale, Chevalier is a mostly true story that does justice to the extraordinary story of an extraordinary Black person.