Chevalier highlights the true, and near forgotten, story of composer Joseph Bologne

French champion fencer, violinist and composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, might not be a household name like Mozart or Beethoven. Sadly, much of the music he composed was destroyed when Napoleon reinstated slavery throughout France in 1802. Searchlight Pictures’ Chevalier (directed by Stephen Williams and a screenplay from Stefani Robinson) reminds audiences of the work that Bologne created during his time as a free man in the late 1700s.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. is fantastic as he brings the lesser known composer to life in this biopic that’s a heartbreaking and romanticized journey through 1700s France and Bologne’s rise to fame at the time. As the illegitimate son of a married planter and an enslaved woman, Bologne is sent to a boarding school in France. We see his opera evolve, his elbow rubbing with people like Mozart and his love affair with Marie Antoinette. We see how he fights to keep everything he has earned and how he’s treated in the public eye.

Chevalier will leave you wanting to know more about Joseph Bologne’s life leading up to his music career and what happened after. This is a great film that will jump start an internet rabbit hole, so allow some extra time to learn more beyond the 1 hour, 47 minute runtime.

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