COCO & IGOR (15) **** DIRECTED BY: JAN KOUNEN STARRING: ANNA MOUGLALIS, MADS MIKKELSEN, YELENA MOROZOVA
THOUGH this latest film about French fashion magnate Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel has zero connection to last year's tedious Coco Before Chanel, its story dovetails neatly from where that film left off. This is effectively the next chapter in her life, and it's much more interesting, focusing as it does on her little-known affair with the great Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. Based on screenwriter Chris Greenhalgh's novel of the same name, the film postulates that their relatively brief union – and the creative jealousy it sparked – spurred each of them on to become defining cultural forces of the 20th century.
Whether this is overstating things is up for debate, but the film makes it seem plausible enough thanks to coolly measured performances from rising French star Anna Mouglalis (as Coco) and Madds Mikkelson (as Stravinsky). Director Jan Kounen also adopts a pleasingly artful style that refuses to dumb down its subjects for the sake of easy accessibility (the actors are truthful rather than likeable). His decision to kick off the film with a truly stunning recreation of the famously disastrous 1913 world premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, meanwhile, is inspired and almost worth the price of admission alone.