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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I know it's not perfect but I absolutely loved it
The images and the sounds&music are soooo exquisite that I can't hold the "lack of a typical story and story arc" against the movie. (I do not care for over the top drama, though I know it can be done well.) This movie lacks this in the story department, there is no "that this happens, and then she said that and he reacted this way". It is much more subtle than that. The...
Published on September 28, 2010 by Olivia Bouwkamp

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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chilly Biography
I watched this movie twice at a large theater with an excellent sound system. I enjoyed the first half hour, which presents a reasonably accurate recreation of the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet THE RITE OF SPRING. Everything seemed accurate, and even the actor who played the conductor Pierre Monteux looked as he might have. After this exciting, even raucous, beginning,...
Published on September 23, 2010 by Paul S. Rottenberg


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I know it's not perfect but I absolutely loved it, September 28, 2010
By 
The images and the sounds&music are soooo exquisite that I can't hold the "lack of a typical story and story arc" against the movie. (I do not care for over the top drama, though I know it can be done well.) This movie lacks this in the story department, there is no "that this happens, and then she said that and he reacted this way". It is much more subtle than that. The pure visuals and sounds tell the story, the emotions and conflicts. The actors are part of the whole thing but not the most important thing, which I have to say I do like. I believe they did their job magnificently just because of that fact, that they don't over act, over dramatize everything.

The story is in the background, the moments in the foreground. It is much more a real way of telling a story, the way we experience life, in moments, in significant moments. And their significance can not always be determined/identified by the actions but by the emotions these actions cause in us.

It is beautiful from start to finish and for my personal taste a treasure, that I will enjoy for years to come.

The movie in two words: elegant, beautiful.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I am an artist...you are a shopkeeper" -, June 19, 2010
By 
Gerard D. Launay (Berkeley, California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a beautifully filmed biopic of the steamy affair between Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky. As depicted in the film, when the controversial "Rite of Spring" was first produced by the Ballets Russes in 1913, Chanel was one of the few in the audience who was deeply impressed by the composer's genius. From that event, she thereafter invites Igor Stravinsky to be a quasi-permanent guest at her villa in the country; it is there she seduces the maestro.

I wanted to like the picture more than I did. Certainly the music of the "Rite of Spring" - which holds the picture together - is intrinsically thrilling and dramatic. The glimpse of the ballet as it may have been initially produced is intriguing. (For the full ballet, I do recommend the recently released: "Stravinsky and the Ballets Russes" on DVD.)

But ultimately the story does not explain how the affair impacted either Stravinsky's or Chanel's individual creative projects. And the affair itself does not light up the screen - it is almost lukewarm.

The quote I picked for the title of this review is the line that shocked me in the film - when Stravinsky quips at Coco Chanel...and wrongfully at that. Everyone in fashion understands how much of a genius and artist Chanel was. Indeed the gorgeous villa that Chanel decorated is explicitly shown in the movie. It clearly exhibits the bold, simplistic, immeasurably compelling talent of Chanel. The film - which I said earlier is beautifully shot - shows the performance in the Opera House in the Champs-Elysee. It also uses historic costumes from the real Chanel collections.

A theme in the latter half of the picture is the impact of the love affair on the neglected wife of Stravinsky who was dangerously ill; the wife's accusations of immorality against Coco Chanel do not phase the couturier. After all, Chanel apologizes to no one for her independence.

Nonetheless, my favorite Chanel movie remains the documentary - "Chanel, Chanel." And as fictional drama, I actually did prefer "Coco Before Chanel", a movie most highly recommended by Roger Ebert. But Chanel enthusiasts wil see "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravnisky" ...definitely.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chilly Biography, September 23, 2010
I watched this movie twice at a large theater with an excellent sound system. I enjoyed the first half hour, which presents a reasonably accurate recreation of the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet THE RITE OF SPRING. Everything seemed accurate, and even the actor who played the conductor Pierre Monteux looked as he might have. After this exciting, even raucous, beginning, however, this movie settled down to a much quieter level which it stayed on for the rest of the picture.
If you're interested in either THE RITE or in Stravinsky, this movie is of limited attraction. If you're interested in Coco Chanel, I'm not sure you'll be fully satisfied, either. The cover of this DVD pictures her as the dominant side of this affair (we don't even see Igor's face here), but the movie is evenly balanced between both, perhaps even giving us more of Stravinsky than Coco. Even though the cinematography, design, writing, acting, and directing is rather stylish, I felt something was missing. That element is passion. This is a curiously chilly biography of what is supposed to be a mad fling. Coco is presented as an ice queen, even though she's a generous patroness of the arts, bankrolling the revival of THE RITE with new choreography by Massine in 1920. Her love sessions with the great composer were done with the same detachment as one might watch an iceberg break off of Antarctica. The old ladies in my audience behaved as if these scenes were part of a documentary about penguins.
One other point I'd like to mention is that the final scenes in the film seem to suggest that Stravinsky ended his life as a lonely old man living in an apartment in some American city, apparently pining for Coco, which is nonsense. His first wife, Catherine Nossenko, lived until 1939, almost twenty years after the Coco episode, and Stravinsky remarried in 1940 to Vera de Bosset, whom he had met in 1921, when they were both married. In addition, Stravinsky's busy life was filled with friends and colleagues such as George Balanchine and Robert Craft. The implication that Coco was a major influence on Igor is probably not true. I doubt he gave her much thought after 1921 or so. He was just too busy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Coco after Chanel, March 18, 2011
By 
James Ferguson (Vilnius, Lithuania) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
It seems that Coco & Igor is more a beautifully imagined story than it is a biography. The movie is based on a novel that presumed a relationship between them during his time in Paris in 1920. The only problem is that Igor Stravinsky seems like little more than a "boy toy" played between Coco and his deeply jealous wife, Katerina. The women in this movie are by far the most captivating to watch, while Mads Mikkelsen pretty much plays Stravinsky like a rube, at least when it comes to affairs of the heart.

I won't hold this against Mads, because I have enjoyed him in other movies, but he seems clearly miscast as Stravinsky, right down to his heavy Russian accent. If you are going to invite Yelena Morozova to play Katerina, why not invite Oleg Menshikov or Vladimir Mashkov to play Stravinsky. Much better for a Russian actor to speak with a heavy French accent than it is to have a Danish actor struggle with two languages.

As a film, Coco & Igor is beautiful to watch. It plays out like a sonata, with sparse dialog, conveying much less than do the impeccable sets, lighting and clothing that take you back to 1920. This is after Coco became Chanel and had established her House and was scrutinizing what would become her famous perfume. The camera soaks up every detail right down to the art deco etchings on Stravinsky's brandy snifter as he works out the final revisions to his Rite of Spring, which had been so badly received before the war. That he owed any debt of gratitude to Coco Chanel for this is highly unlikely, but it would be nice to think so.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About art, December 9, 2010
I saw this film six times. I obviously loved it not because it was some sort of "biopic," which it was not, but because it was a film using known people in a made up situation that created a powerful story about art, craft, passion and creativity. From what I could find out, almost nothing in the film except the names of the characters had anything to do with fact.

I thought the best way to understand the film and the problematic ending was to see it as a study of two different types of creative artists each using the other's passion to discover something about his/her own work. In the meantime the contrast between the old style of life (Katia) and the new style (Coco) effectively showed the necessity of generosity as the basis for the modern. The film seemed to me to be a feminist statement of the influence of women on a fairly stodgy male whose creativity was dependent first on his wife and then on the passion he felt with Coco. It was the women, both of them, who made him the voice of the modern at the end of the film, but it was Coco's sacrifice of her passion (although Igor made it easy by calling her a "shopkeeper")that allowed him to triumph in the second performance of the "Rite" nine years later. Her appearing in the costume she had designed for the sacrificial victim signaled her sacrifice to art.

I particularly liked the sly way the actress who played Katia showed her superiority to Igor. She nods slightly to her son who then checkmates Igor at chess. She is very aware of her place in his creativity and success. Yet, she represents Old Russia whose voice in exile can no longer be heard.

It is true that the real Igor gave the real Coco the icon seen in the film. She did keep it on her mantle, and it is true that he and his family stayed at Coco's manor for two years, but he worked on Pulchinella, a neo-classic work, not a revision of the "Rite." It is not clear what happened between them. At the time Coco was involved with another Russian emigre.

So, by looking at the film as a powerful statement of artistic process and creativity, of passion and feminine superiority, of the conflict between the old and the new, and the necessity of generosity as the glue that makes the future possible, the film becomes a stunning work of art in itself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mads fan only, November 22, 2012
By 
crunch (Berkeley,CA,USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (Amazon Instant Video)
Again this is not one of his best roles but OK for a Sunday evening; slow going ; but then this is what you should expect given the subject composer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tolerable, April 17, 2013
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I bought this movie because I like Mads' work. However, this movie isn't very good. Difficult to feel for and connect with the characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The continuing story of Coco Chanel after Captain Arthur 'Boy" Chapel., October 10, 2012
By 
James McDonald (Lancaster, California) - See all my reviews
Before you see this movie, you need to see Coco Chanel (2008) as it tells the story of Coco Chanel's first love Etienne Balsan and then her greatest love of all, Captain Boy Chapel.

This movie, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009) is the continuation of her life and love story, although different actors are in the role. With Coco Chanel well into her fashions and on the brink of making her infamous perfume, she has become a changed women after the death of Chapel, but now she uses sex as power to get what she wants.

Anna Mouglalis as "Coco Chanel"

Anatole Taubman as "Arthur 'Boy" Chapel". He played the henchman, "Elvis" in Quantum of Solace (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2008).

Mads Mikkelsen as "Igor Stravinsky". He played the villain "Le Chiffe" in Casino Royale [Blu-ray] (2006).

Elena Morozova as "Katarina Stravinskaya".

Best opening credits design I have seen in a while.

Language: French. Subtitles: English, French.

Special Features: The Making of..., Theatrical Trailer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Plush visual & musical template not enough to sustain footnote of short-lived romance between two 20th century iconic figures, October 17, 2014
By 
Turfseer (New York, N.Y.) - See all my reviews
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0

'Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky' is worthwhile for some sumptuous visuals and great Stravinsky music, as well as some excellent additional music by Gabriel Yared. The film begins quite nicely with a depiction of the original Paris performance of Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring' in 1913. That performance of course was considered scandalous at the time, not only for the iconoclastic rhythms introduced by Stravinsky but also for Diaghilev's frenzied choreography. At the performance is Coco Chanel, the famed designer, who admires the piece despite the derision from most of the clueless 'bourgeoisie' in the audience.

Flash forward seven years and Stravinsky, his wife and children, have fallen on hard times. In steps Chanel who offers to put them up at her estate in the suburbs of Paris. At first Stravinsky declines but changes his mind after he realizes that the fresh suburban air would be good for his wife, who suffers from what appears to be pneumonia.

The rest of the Coco and Igor narrative is rather predictable. Coco, the free spirit that she is, seduces Stravinsky, and makes love to him frequently, as the rest of the family enjoys the good meals and gifts, the designer magnate bestows upon them. Eventually (wouldn't you guess), Stravinsky's wife falls into despair as she becomes quite aware that Igor has strayed into the arms of Ms. Chanel. Historically, this all plays out for approximately nine months until May of 1921, when the wife and children left (and Stravinsky soon followed).

There are some rather perfunctory sex scenes between Chanel and Igor with the great composer uttering the best line to Chanel that she's not an artist but rather a "shopkeeper." This is probably the worst thing you could say to someone like Chanel, who suddenly loses all interest in Stravinsky and gives up on him as a lover. Nonetheless, Chanel remained generous toward Stravinsky, bankrolling a new production of the 'Rite of Spring' and remaining friends with him, in the years to come.

The implication here is that somehow Coco Chanel was a muse for Stravinsky which is not borne out by any evidence. The entire narrative is based on a fictional book entitled 'Coco and Igor', inspired by Coco Chanel's claims that she had an affair with Stravinsky. This was disputed by Stravinsky's second wife as well as his long-term assistant.

Chris Greenhaigh, who wrote both the screenplay and the novel it was based on, also throws in an irrelevant sub-plot about how Chanel goes about coming up with her famous fragrance, 'Chanel No. 5'. It's a pointless aside due to the lack of conflict (Chanel has meetings with her chemist, sniffs various experimental fragrances, and finally decides on her final pick). Voila!

What's much more interesting about Chanel is completely left out in this film. That of course is that she had a long relationship with an anti-Semitic British aristocrat, was probably (more often than not), a Nazi sympathizer during the war, may have been a Nazi spy and aided a Nazi war criminal after the war.

'Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky' details a footnote in the career of a great composer. We're asked to get excited about this imagined relationship and I'm not sure why. I get the idea that Chanel and Stravinsky were sexually attracted to one another. And that's about all I get from Greenhaigh's speculations.

Anna Mouglalis is quite good as Chanel but Mads Mikkelsen (the Danish actor who was cast perfectly as a man falsely accused as a pedophile in 'The Hunt'), seems much too stiff as Stravinsky (the great composer was known to be quite a social, genial soul).

I would recommend 'Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky' mainly for the look and feel of the visual and musical aspects of the production. But I remain unconvinced there's enough drama here to sustain one's interest for a full 119 minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Good To Be True, May 18, 2014
By 
E. Macomber "gmonet" (New Bern, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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OK, this is a simple story based on real people and almost real events. If you saw the movie "AGATHA" with Redgrave, and Hoffman
you know that they never were lovers, or actual acquaintances. Take that to the 10th power and you have this great movie that is little more than superb cinematography, cast, and of course soundtrack.

Coco Chanel DID NOT have a sexual affair, Stravinsky DID NOT sleep with her, and they both DID NOT die thinking of the other...but after you watch this hidden gem, you will wish they had!

The facts overshadow the script, and the relationships are scarcely fair to Stravinsky's family or his fellow artists who performed a less-than-favored Le Sacre du Printemps. Still, the performance shown is quite literal to the actual opening performance right down to the police being called to calm the riots.

I enjoyed it, learned the facts after reading all the notes on the package, and still repeat the ritual twice or more a year.
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