Composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, has been revered as one of the most prolific black composers of all time, and now audiences all around the world can tune in to discover his story, as Disney’s Chevalier officially hits digital platforms.
On Thursday, June 15th, The Source had the pleasure of attending an exclusive, intimate film screening taking place at the Walt Disney Studios Lot in Los Angeles. The evening kicked off with a breathtaking performance by Drew (@thatviolakid), who showcased his violin skills while simultaneously setting the stage for the movie we were about to watch.
The story goes Joseph was an incredible fencer and violinist, born to a French plantation owner and an African slave. Growing up as a black man within the constructs of French society is no easy feat, and Chevalier does an incredible job of highlighting the reality of these hardships as he struggles with self-identity and abandonment — all thanks to the color of his skin.
After receiving news of his father’s passing, Joseph finally reunited with his mother, who was freed as a slave when he was born. This was a common occurrence back then in the 17th and 18th centuries, where women of color hardly had any say when it came to interracial intercourse, oftentimes losing their newborns immediately upon birth.
Things take a left turn as Joseph eventually falls head over heels for Marie Antoinette, whose husband is a well-known tyrant. The love affair eventually leads to his downfall, as Joseph has to learn how to deal with the cards he’s dealt.
Attendees could view the 15-minute bonus feature, which showcased interviews with all the key players behind-the-scenes. Director Stephen Williams worked hand in hand with the actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. as they could tap into their own personal experiences to truly bring out the best in their respective roles.
All in all, the movie centers around the theme of escapism. For Joseph, that meant surviving in a society that wasn’t built for him, and discovering the importance of self-acceptance in this journey called life.
The bonus feature is called “Chevalier: Note By Note,” where viewers hear from filmmakers, cast, and crew about how they were able to bring the story of this hidden historical figure to life. View the first minute above and be sure to check out Chevalier on Hulu, Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu, and all digital retailers.
Article written by Shirley Ju #TheSource