Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
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Forget about Chanel suits and Chanel No. 5; Coco Chanel herself seems to be en vogue lately. First, we saw the young Coco, played by Audrey Tautou, in the beautiful but distant Coco Before Chanel. Now we see the next stage of her life (this time played by Anna Mouglalis)—and her next romance—depicted in another beautiful but distant French drama, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

The film picks up right around the place where Coco Before Chanel left off. In 1913, Coco attends the disastrous premiere of Stravinsky’s (Mads Mikkelsen) The Rite of Spring. Though the crowd is scandalized by the composer’s unprecedented arrangement, Coco is fascinated by its new, modern tones. So when they meet in 1920, the two instantly form a bond.

Coco is mourning the death of Boy Capel, but she wants to help the exiled composer, so she invites Igor, his ailing wife, Katarina (Elena Morozova), and their four children to move into her country home. As Igor works on his next composition and Coco works on expanding to perfume, the two begin an affair that inspires them both.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is a gorgeous tribute to the fashion legend. From the costumes to the sets to the main character, everything about the film is strikingly beautiful. The grounds of Coco’s country home are lush and green, but everything else—the Chanel boutique, each room of the house, and, of course, Coco’s wardrobe—is designed in crisp blacks and whites. Mouglalis, too, is stunning, her tall and slender physique giving Coco a perpetual air of elegance and confidence.

The film offers just a glimpse or two of Coco’s professional life, showing her as a tough and determined business owner who controlled every last detail, right down to the condition of her shop girls’ fingernails. It’s the same in her personal life: every move seems carefully planned and controlled. While that portrait may be accurate, though, it makes for a cold and distant love story. Her relationship with Igor may be extremely physical, but it never feels passionate—at least not for Coco, who appears to be completely heartless and mechanical. To her, the relationship seems like a game, a pastime—or maybe just the best way to compel herself forward after Boy’s death.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is a quiet film, developed through glances, music, and brief encounters instead of through dialogue. It’s certainly beautiful, but it isn’t especially moving or dramatic—and the pace drags until the story simply crumbles in the end. Like Coco Before Chanel, it looks good, but it feels cold and distant.

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