10/14/10

COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKI - REVIEW


Another year, another extended Chanel advert. Unfortunately, unlike Coco Before Chanel, this doesn't have much to work with. What we get is not so much a Chanel biopic as a vague Stravinski biopic awkwardly stuck inside a sexy Chanel bubble.

The main problem is that, really, the film has nothing interesting to say: Chanel and Stravinski had an affair...they had sex...buy our perfume! This is literally it. Having said that, Jan Kounen does a remarkable job making such an empty narrative interesting. The cinematography is stylish and well crafted and the score is beautiful. A terrific scene involving a Stravinski concert going awry is definitely a highlight.

There's good performances here. Anna Mouglalis' over-cool but genuinely manipulative and really pretty dislikable Chanel is a lot of fun and Mads Mikkelsen conveys a lot with the shameful 5 lines he was given to work with (!). His performance, although practically silent, is nevertheless the most compelling in the entire film and without him there would have been nothing to hang on to dramatically.

Overall, it all feels like the novel probably had much more to say than the film which is really slight on pretty much every level. The many gratuitous sex scenes between the two leads don't really bring anything to the table either, except perhaps very talented bodily fluids...? They had an affair, affair = sex, we get it. Not to mention the whole Chanel N5 subplot which I'm still perplexed about to this day. Did it have any bearing on the main story? No. Apart from being a blatant, in your face ad for the fashion brand and an exercise in sucking up to Coco...I don't see the significance.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinski is a film which looks good, sounds good but which sadly feels emptier than a mannequin's head. Quel dommage...

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