Monsieur Chocolat (M) Monsieur Chocolat is a beguiling reminder of the ways in which comedy developed in the 20th century. This accomplished film ostensibly deals with the rise and fall of the first black clown, Rafael Padilla (Omar Sy). I was bowled over by the performance of James Thierree, who plays Tony Grice, aka Footit, the white clown whose partnership with Padilla’s Monsieur Chocolat made them both famous. Monsieur Chocolat is visually handsome and for the most part thoroughly entertaining. It’s a bit painful today to laugh at the humiliation of a Negro, which is the basis of the comedy, but the film acts as a reminder as to how ingrained racism was in those days. The bigotry, which has Chocolat frequently depicted on posters as an ape, is distressing: racial equality has progressed a long way, though still not enough.