This latest installment of a famed designer pits her with a famed composer in a very elegant way.
A very adult Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky stars Anna Mouglalis and Mads Mikkelsen, and probably isn't meant to be a follow-up to last year's Coco Before Chanel where Audrey Tautou flourished under Anne Fontaine's direction.
Previously, in 1913 Paris, Coco was smitten with handsome and rich Boy Chapel (played in "Before" by Alessandro Nivola) while driven by her work. Meanwhile, Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" was about to be performed. Igor's revolutionary dissonances coalesce with Coco's fashionista mind-set. The premiere turned out to be a disaster.
Now, in Jan Kouen's textured presentation, the setting of Paris remains seven years forward with Stravinsky (Mikkelsen) meeting one of his most ardent admirers, a popular Chanel (Mouglalis).
Igor dwells and works out of a humble, quaint domicile with ailing wife Katia (Elena Morozova) and their four children. Coco's invitation to Igor to have his family stay with her outside the city in a scenic villa is agreeable for Igor who composes while she puts together a new fragrance.
Chris Greenhaigh's dutifully works from his own book getting into the little things of everyday life with close-up, erotic encounters. From this format (not typical of most kind of biopics seen on screen) Mikkelsen is able to make an impact through Igor's personal and professional undulations not really noticing the kind of artist Coco actually is. Here's a case of two uncompromising artists stirring up one another.
Yet, through all the detail and attempts at truthfulness with a distinctive dismissiveness, this lush chapter has an unsavory scent about it. Yes, Mouglalis conveys the independent, avant-garde Coco with a certain cool grace, but the projection reflected from Igor as Morozova accentuates some of Katia's pathos just doesn't allow for the necessary dramatic momentum.
In Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, however, discerning arthouse cineastes will revel in the splashy set designs with notable monochromatic touches as the lensing and Gabriel Yared's stylish score reverberates in the artistic dichotomy. Too bad the the unhurried storytelling doesn't make the real-life incident as impeccably of a catch.