Customer Review

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
This review is from: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (DVD)
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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 5, 2010 9:14:45 PM PDT
Techy says:
I definitely will see this film, there are too many things about it that attract me (Mads, fashion, Chanel, music, etc.), but I think many people are forgetting that this biopic is based on a rumour. The so called affair between Chanel and Stravinsky was rumoured, in fact during the year he stayed in her villa she bascially was not even there. So if the love story is "lukewarm" to you, it may be that they didn't have much to go on in the first place. I can see why Brigette Bardo is fighting against a biopic about her life, sometimes too much is imagined as opposed to based on fact.

Posted on Oct 31, 2010 6:39:07 PM PDT
During my 7 years of Medical School in Paris I found enough free time to learn that the Opera House is situated on the Avenue de l'Opera and not on the Champs Elysees, Otherwise your review seems precise and good enough to make me order this DVD.

MERCI !

Posted on Dec 22, 2010 4:12:50 PM PST
Sarmad says:
...except Stravinsky did NOT have an affair with this woman.

Posted on Dec 22, 2010 4:13:11 PM PST
Sarmad says:
...except Stravinsky did NOT have an affair with this woman.

Posted on Dec 22, 2010 4:13:13 PM PST
Sarmad says:
...except Stravinsky did NOT have an affair with this woman.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2013 12:24:38 PM PDT
S. Spilka says:
Well, he was a philanderer. After his wife's death he did marry his mistress. With Coco it was perhaps a short affair. It may not be a good idea to base a movie on a poorly written book.
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