Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

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 >>>
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

In The Time of Leo: Our Creative Efforts

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.