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Feb 13th
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Coco & Igor

film_CocoIgorThe possibility of an affair between fashion designer Coco Chanel and Russian composer Igor Stravinsky,1920, inspires this hothouse rhapsody from director Jan Kounen, based on the novel by Chris Greenhalgh. The era is irresistible, a period of astonishing artistic, political and cultural ferment. The personalities are fascinating (the designer who freed women from corsets; the composer who invented a new musical language). The project is redolent with possibilities, but few are realized in this artfully posed but static and disappointing film. It begins well at the 1913 Paris premiere of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," recreated in lavish detail (the corps de ballet in animal skins and tribal costumes; Nijinsky's ecstatic choreography to Stravinsky's relentless rhythms), followed by the famous rioting of the scandalized audience. Jump to 1920: with Paris full of Russian expats after the Revolution, Chanel (Anna Mouglalis), head of her own elegant Paris fashion house, moves Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen) and his enormous family to her severely chic black-and-white country house in the South of France so he can work.

Coco and Igor's mutual simmering finally erupts into acrobatic sex, accompanied by long passages of his dramatic music, and the fretting of his sweet, un-chic, tubercular Russian wife, Katia (Elena Morozova, film_coco_chanel_and_igor_stravinskydone up like a Renaissance madonna with a high white forehead, red hair, and no eyebrows). That's about it for plot. Genius is not a spectator sport, especially in ho-hum scenes of Igor brooding over his piano, reworking riffs from "Rite." (You'd think he never composed anything else.) In one refreshing interlude, Coco visits a perfumer (his workers knee-deep in flower petals) to incubate her new scent, Chanel No. 5, but the viewer longs for more scenes of Coco at work. (When Katia gives her a Russian peasant dress to transform, or Coco signs on to design costumes for a new production of "Rite," we never get to see the results.) Worse, the filmmakers assume that all creativity springs from illicit passion with an artist of equal or greater celebrity; they never acknowledge any other possible influence on these two wildly creative and innovative artists than each other (a dubious point made no more convincing in the abrupt, perplexing coda). All this makes for a claustrophobic, rather morose romance in a highly decorative setting that might have been so much more. (R) 120 minutes. In French and Russian with English subtitles. ★★ Watch film trailer >>>
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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

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