Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
Directed by Jan Kounen
Cornerhouse, 8 August 2010
It looks great: the period detail, the way each shot is composed.
There is no doubting either the elegance of Anna Mouglalis as Coco Chanel. But whether this great affair ever amounted to more than a fling on Chanel’s part and an itch that Stravinsky needed to scratch in order to create a new work, is open to question.
Yelena Morozova as Katarina, Stravinsky’s wife, gives the film’s best performance. She potrays a fierce and sorrowful and loving woman. The two leads are no slouchs, either, in the acting stakes: Mads Mikkelsen renders Stravinsky as an introverted and repressed man, yet also a fearless artist. While Mouglalis’s Chanel is attracted to Stravinsky’s fearless integrity and also, perhaps, to the idea of inspiring an artist, being more than a mere patron.
On a deeper level, the theme of the film is undoubtedly art and its various pretenders and enemies (above all, fashion and convention) and the mystery and agony of the creative process. A stylish, transporting experience all told, but one is left with the question: did this affair ultimately mean very much to either person?