Written and Directed by Thiago Dadalt
Produced by Dru Miller Starring Piercey Dalton, Joao Bounassar, Amy Argyle, Talia Bacha Short Film Review by Chris Olson
The bustling urban jungle of Los Angeles plays host to a story of loss, loneliness and hope in this short film from filmmaker Thiago Dadalt. Chocolate is a tender and moving short that brilliantly balances its emotional core with filmmaking style. Eve (Piercey Dalton) is seen in several different periods during Chocolate in a non-linear depiction of events which, when pieced together, create a harrowing journey through tragedy. To say what that tragedy is would remove the bite slightly, so I will avoid spoilers. What I will say, though, is that the themes are wonderfully explored and delivered. Spending time in the unfathomably horrendous squalor of the poorest parts of urban LA, Eve attempts to find her daughter (Talia Bacha), whilst struggling with her memory. After almost abducting a child that isn't hers, a confused Eve is offered guidance by a homeless man called Lewis (Joao Bounassar), who puts her to work begging in the streets. A somber story told beautifully, Chocolate is a short film that knows how to push the right buttons, without losing its grip on the visual style it maintains throughout. Wonderful camerawork is used to accompany Eve though her perilous journey, fluidly capturing her interactions with the city and its inhabitants. One scene where she first enters an alley populated with homeless people is thrillingly filmed. Flashback sequences have a dreamlike tone to them and capture the frustrations of the character when she is brought brutally back to reality. Music and the sound design in general are used skilfully. Moments of dialogue being swamped by instrumentation cleverly highlights the voiceless nature of this character and those who suffer like her. Sound was also a major part of the success of the final third of the short film, but I won't explain why. Dalton is a compelling lead, tackling what could have been an overwhelming role with impressive skill. Not only does she inhabit the various emotional distresses of Eve, Dalton also displays the numerous physical attributes that affect our protagonist in an intelligent and believable way. Her initial interaction with Bounassar was remarkable, the two delivering a tremendous scene that is filled with visceral anguish and heartache. Dadalt's film is heavily crafted and will challenge viewers to explore a story that is upsetting for several reasons. Fortunately, the elements he has crafted his film with are marvellously cinematic and keep the film tonally dramatic and thought-provoking without giving ground to melodrama or insincerity.
Watch the official movie trailer for Chocolate below...