3/08/2012

Hit Me Baby One More Time: Coco Chanel and Stravinsky Get it On in Paris

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(Above: A scene from the new biopic, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky)
Since the Coco Chanel biopic thing has already been milked to death in the past year (Audrey Tautou in "Coco Before Chanel", Shirley MacLaine in the made-for-TV "Coco Chanel"), why not dissect another aspect of the French fashion icon's life? In steps film director Jan Kounen, whose previous films (1997's Doberman and 2004's Blueberry) are filled with gun-toting bank robbers and Wild West violence. He's toned down the angst for his newest film called, "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky", where the two legends share a brief love affair in 1920s Paris.   
Paris 1913. [...] Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is about to be performed. [...] Coco attends the scandalous first performance of The Rite in a chic white dress. The music and ballet are criticized as too modern, too foreign.

Paris 1920, Coco is newly wealthy and successful [...] Igor, following the Russian Revolution is now a penniless refugee living in exile in Paris. Coco is introduced to Igor by Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes. The attraction between them is instant and electric. Coco invites Igor along with his wife - now sick with consumption - together with his four children and a menagerie of birds to stay at her new villa, Bel Respiro, in Garches.

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(Above: A scene from the new biopic, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky)
Music is scored by Gabriel Yared (who won an Oscar for The English Patient and was nominated for The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain) and the screenplay is based on Chris Greenhalgh's book, liberally adapted from the hazy historical facts.
The film opens with a recreation of Stravinsky's infamous ~classical riot~ at the Champs Elysées theatre in 1913 for the premiere of The Rite of Spring.
Anna Mouglalis plays Coco Chanel, while Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen gives a tepid performance as Iggie. The film just closed the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and while early reviews praise the costume & scenery (all in Art Deco style), there is clear lament over the sterility of the actors' performances. In addition to our two main characters, Elena Morozova plays Catherine Stravinsky and Grigori Manoukov plays Sergeï Diaghilev. Let's just pray they don't turn this one into an opera. Written by Rufus.
You just have to click on the link below to see images from the 62nd Cannes screening at Palais De Festivals, and a chance to see Coco & Iggie & Catherine out of costume!
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Above: Director Jan Kounen, Anna Mouglalis (Coco), Mads Mikkelsen (Igor) and Elena Morozova (Catherine)
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Above: Elena Morozova (Catherine), Mads Mikkelsen (Igor), Anna Mouglalis (Coco), and Director Jan Kounen.
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Above: Mads Mikkelsen (Igor)
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Above: Mads Mikkelsen (Igor), Anna Mouglalis (Coco)
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Above: Mads Mikkelsen (Igor), Anna Mouglalis (Coco)
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Above: Mads Mikkelsen (Igor). Ugh. Nice knotty dreads, lamer.

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