Director: JAN KOUNEN

120 minutes| France| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema

While the Audrey Tautou pic Coco Before Chanel filled in the early years, this entirely complementary drama covers another chapter in the life of the legendary couturier. Although Jan Kounen’s film is adapted from Chris Greenhalgh’s speculative novel, its portrayal of Chanel’s heated liaison with composer Igor Stravinsky springs from fact: Coco attended the 1913 Paris premiere of The Rite of Spring which ended in a riot, thus sparking her interest in the great Russian musical modernist. The film’s marvellously vivid recreation of this epochal cultural event – at last classical music gets to sound properly dangerous! – gives the proceedings an adrenaline-charged beginning. Thereafter though, it gets gnarly and intriguing as the two great artists, both instinctive seekers after a new kind of perfection, try to conduct an affair in her mansion while he’s staying there with his beady-eyed wife and their kids. Anna Mouglalis and the ever-versatile Mads Mikkelsen both excel as the moody, rutting creatives. Most intriguing. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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