To me, the most interesting aspect of the film Chocolat is the way in which human desire is externalized—a thing you can pick up and eat.
Using chocolate as a foundation, the story is a very nice portrayal of an entire community’s attitude that even the simplest desire is shameful. The conceit of candy is an especially effective way to look at self-denial and sensuality, since it is at once innocuous and culturally loaded.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the movie is that in talking about chocolate as it relates to Lent, the narrative is really talking about all kinds of other indulgences, not least of which is sex. By virtue of flavor, aroma, appearance, and texture, chocolate embodies all the elements of instant gratification, which contrasts dramatically with the town’s asceticism and its proclivity toward keeping all desires secret, under the doctrine that Want might be construed as weakness of character if it were made public.
I love the idea that in the context of magical realism, the symbol surpasses metaphorical status and becomes concrete—the real, accessible shape of an otherwise intangible idea.