Life is a competition in Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Chevalier. The story centers on six bourgeois men on a yacht in Greece who decide to turn their vacation into a game, grading each other on everything from posture to how well they can assemble a bookshelf. Chevalier denotes chivalry, which is treated ironically in a movie in which chevalier refers to a ring that the winner of the competition gets. What we get is an amusing foray into the male id, which turns social situations into dick measuring contests and, yes, there is a dick measuring contest in the movie. That Tsangari can sustain this conceit is a testament to her filmmaking. Chevalier is subtle as it is funny, and it’s funny because it’s subtle, making us notice each character’s ticks and tease out their professions and even their names from off-hand conversations. If we read into Chevalier we may find an allegory for upper class selfishness and a critique of capitalism, for, while Greece remains in economic ruin, the upper echelon compete against one another for ego. Trivial pursuit indeed.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White