Coco & Igor
June 25, 2010
Jan Kounen's mostly insipid, exposition-laden feature film about the relationship between the 20th century's greatest couturier and composer, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, is worth seeing for two reasons:
1. The first scene which reconstructs the opening night performance at the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring on May 29 1913. Although I find it very unlikely that the choreographer, Vaslav Nijinsky, would have given such basic rehearsal instructions to his Ballet Russes dancers as "follow the rhythm" and "jump" right before curtain, the fretful camerawork and anxious faces of the principle characters beautifully capture the build-up of one the most significant moments -- and biggest fiascos -- in performing arts history. I also love the contrast between the choreographed "savagery" on stage and the true "savages" brawling in their evening wear on the other side of the proscenium.
2. Anna Mouglalis' impossibly long neck and serpentine elegance as Coco Chanel. I wouldn't say that the actress gives a particularly nuanced performance. She certainly isn't helped by Chris Greenhalgh's clunky script. But she looks like she was made to wear Chanel's monochrome, graceful clothes and carries herself throughout the film like a Modigliani painting come to life.