Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky

Friday, 2 April 2010

chanel1

I saw Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky this week as part of the French Film Festival and I was captivated. It was not the type of film I was expecting, although I don't really know what I was expecting to be honest. Perhaps something more sweeping. But instead, I received a distilled film that is more powerful because it limits itself in certain areas, and only indulges in a few.

The indulgences are not for the faint-hearted: this is not a film to approach with an expectation of a romanticised portrayal of love and desire. But it is not gratuitously explicit, just honest. The clothes are the second indulgence. It is almost worth it to go see the film for the clothes alone. I found myself empathising with the body of the actress who played Chanel, Anna Mouglalis, in its overt skinniness and poky collarbone, being built similarly myself. I only wish I walked away from the film with her wardrobe and not just her body type.

What I loved about this film is that it wasn't sentimental, but rather just told the story of two strong-willed individuals without the need to make them overtly likable. Even more than that, I loved the way that the film distilled their historical context to suit their lives, so that amidst Chanel's revolution of style and Stravinsky's revolution of music is a brief photographic narrative of the revolution of war.

This was very cleverly done and it made me realise why the beginning of the film focused so intently on the initial ballet scene. I sort of felt that some of the audience in the theatre that I saw it in got a bit lost because of this initial ballet scene, and some people grew restless, but it made perfect sense to me as the film progressed. It was almost like a silent way of telling the audience what the film was about, and what tone to expect.

Has anyone seen the film, or hoping to see it?

12 comments:

Sundari said...

Ohh!!! I totally forgot that the French film Festival ended a few days ago here. And this was the one film I really wanted to see! Oh I so hope I can find it. It seems like a beautiful film to watch, especially now that you have reviewed it.

Principia said...

this isn't a feel good movie then? it sounds interesting. I hope they play this on our french film festival :/

cinta / sepi / sayu said...

aw merci beaucoup dearest, i absolutely adore yours. lovely. <3

Rina said...

I would love to see it! with those names in the same movie...
I have for this weekend an old spanish movie called "Los amantes del circulo polar", the translation is something like "The polar circle lovers", sounds nice, I will tell you...
Enjoy your weekend
xoxo

Aron said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie. Thanks for your review!

pumkyn said...

I have not heard of this movie, but because of your review I believe I shall watch it.

marie said...

i saw this one too, and was similarly impressed (especially after being a bit disappointed with coco avant chanel, although it was beautiful) - its nice to get some substance alongside the beauty, and the clothes..

danica said...

i am definitely going to check it out when it gets its own run at paradiso. how did you think it compared to coco avant chanel?

Hila said...

sundari: it should be showing generally, apart from the french film festival, so you might still be able to catch it.

principia: hmm, I wouldn't call it a feel good movie, not quite. But not depressing by any means.

cinta/sepi/sayu: my pleasure!

rina: I've seen this movie and I loved it! I'd love to know what you think ...

aron: glad you liked it :) and I love your blog.

pumkyn: I'm glad you've discovered it through me, it's a great film.

marie: I was a bit disappointed with coco avant chanel too, so this version was a pleasant surprise.

danica: I liked this version better than coco avant chanel, it felt like it had more substance too it, and I also felt that anna made a better chanel. Also, she has the deepest, huskiest voice, the kind you like in women, as you once told me :)

Rambling Tart said...

I haven't seen it but have it reserved on Netflix to watch as soon as it's available. :-) I've loved all your recommendations so far. :-)

louise said...

So well put. I too loved this film. I think I like it even more now after reading your thoughts.

Hila said...

oh, thank you!