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Nov 21st
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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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Over Hills and Plains, Riding a White Horse, Bow and Arrows in Hand

Saturday, early morning, the sun enters and radiates the light of Sagittarius. Three hours later, the Sagittarius new moon (0.07 degrees) occurs. “Let food be sought,” is the personality-building keynote. “Food” means experiences; all kinds, levels and types. It also means real food. Sag’s secret is their love of food. Many, if not musicians, are chefs. Some are both. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters to the “hills and plains of Sagittarius.” Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused on the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is also the “disciple.” Adventure, luck, optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius. Sag is also one of the signs of silence. The battle lines were drawn in Libra and we were asked to choose where we stood. The Nine Tests were given in Scorpio and we emerged “warriors triumphant.” Now in Sag, we are to be the One-Pointed Disciple, riding over the plains on a white horse, bow and arrows in hand, eyes focused on the Path of Return ahead. Sagittarians are one-pointed (symbol of the arrow). Sag asks, “What is my life’s purpose?” This is their quest, from valleys, plains, meadows and hills, eyes aimed always at the mountaintop. Sag emerges from Scorpio’s deep waters, conflict and tests into the open air. Sag’s quest is humanity’s quest. Sag’s quest, however, is always accompanied by music and good food.

 

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Film, Times & Events: Week of November 21

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