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Review: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

Passion among the titans
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  June 24, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars

"I want to breathe," says Coco Chanel as she cuts off her corset. On this May night in 1913, the future fashion powerhouse attends the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps, which causes a riot.

By 1920, war and revolution had changed the fortunes of these two innovators. The star designer invites the indigent composer (and his wife, Katya, and their children) to live at her villa. Thus begins another tale of passion among the titans. Director Jan Kounen takes the notion that breathing = freedom and unites the rhythms in Igor’s music, Coco’s obsession with creating a signature perfume, and Katya’s lung disease. During the sex scenes, the soundtrack music stops, leaving the beat of Igor and Coco breathing.

Despite this provocative motif, the film deflates. Mads Mikkelsen gets mired in brooding as Igor, and Anna Mouglalis is merely photogenic as Coco. Yelena Morozova gives a moving performance as the wronged spouse. But what lingers is the fab décor.

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