Chevalier – Unearthing Greatness

Chevalier – Unearthing Greatness

Written by Zoe Crombie

One of the most powerful functions of cinema is the ability to present wide audiences with figures who they aren’t familiar with, or who were long ago forgotten. Think Steven Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich or the three mathematicians immortalised in Hidden Figures – aside from being great movies, they’re stories that elevate the accomplishments of individuals not typically given their dues in society. Amongst all the biopics of famous or infamous figures, from Bohemian Rhapsody to the upcoming Oppenheimer, these films that focus on the marginalised and grant them their overdue appreciation for a new generation arguably serve as the most potent form of the biopic genre.

Starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., who you may recognise from Baz Luhrman’s own beloved biopic Elvis as B.B. King, Chevalier tells the story of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Born to an enslaved woman and her white enslaver, Bologne rose to prominence as one of the most talented and exciting musicians and composers of his era, finding a place in the court of Marie-Antoinette before ultimately supporting the revolutionary populist cause. Navigating the French aristocracy as a Black man, Bologne is the kind of figure that most assume impossible – an idea that films like these set out to change. 

Chevalier tells a fascinating story not likely remembered by most of the audiences who will see it, but that is part of a much broader tapestry of biopics dedicated to uncovering the greatness of marginalised figures and finally lending them the prominence they deserve.

Chevalier is showing from 23rd June

Book tickets here