Paris 1913. Coco Chanel is infatuated with the rich and handsome Boy Capel, but she is also compelled by her work. Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is about to be performed. The ...
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Paris 1913. Coco Chanel is infatuated with the rich and handsome Boy Capel, but she is also compelled by her work. Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is about to be performed. The revolutionary dissonances of Igor's work parallel Coco's radical ideas. She wants to democratize women's fashion; he wants to redefine musical taste. Coco attends the scandalous first performance of The Rite in a chic white dress. The music and ballet are criticized as too modern, too foreign. Coco is moved but Igor is inconsolable. Paris 1920, Coco is newly wealthy and successful but grief-stricken after Boy's death in a car crash. Igor, following the Russian Revolution is now a penniless refugee living in exile in Paris. Coco is introduced to Igor by Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes. The attraction between them is instant and electric. Coco invites Igor along with his wife - now sick with consumption - together with his four children and a menagerie of birds to stay at her new villa, Bel ...Written by
The ballet "Le Sacre du Printemps" ("The Rite of Spring"), whose famous premiere of May 29, 1913, is portrayed in the film, is today rarely performed as a ballet, but rather as a concert piece strictly for orchestra. Nijinsky's original choreography was lost. See more »
The chess board on which Stravinsky and his son are playing is set up incorrectly. Any chess playing Russian would know that the light colored chessboard square should be on the lower right. See more »
This movie is often very beautiful to look at. Some of the camera-work is innovative, other times it references famous scenes in previous movies. If this were a silent picture, these things would stand out more and make for a more enjoyable experience.
Because, sadly, the movie is a bore.
It recounts the story of two not particularly attractive and certainly not pleasant individuals who have a lot of very uninteresting and apparently passionless sex that is quite clearly but not at all erotically filmed. There they are again, in bed, completely unclothed, going at it, and I found myself wondering if I should make popcorn. They are presented as they evidently were: two individuals intensely devoted to their work, work that took a lot of solitary creation. When they have sex, it is as if Stravinsky does it, quite methodically, in order to get rid of his urges - since he apparently can't have sex with his quietly suffering wife anymore, because of her illness - so that he can get back to his composing. That may be what the movie wanted to suggest. But that doesn't make for a very interesting movie. We never see much of any relationship between him and Chanel, just the sex.
It took me three days to get through the whole thing. I just couldn't keep watching for but so long at a stretch, and only finished it so that I hadn't totally wasted my money on renting it.
"Coco before Chanel" shows that Chanel could be interesting. I'm willing to believe that Stravinsky could be interesting too. But I didn't get that from this movie.
We see Chanel's involvement in the creation of Chanel No. 5, but there's no joy in it, so we don't get excited about it either.
We get even less involved in Stravinsky's composition.
It looks like a Masterpiece Theater where all the money went into the production values and nothing into the script. When you're dealing with two intellectual persons for an audience who, given the subject matter, is likely to be fairly intellectual themselves, this is not a good thing.
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