There was never a horse that couldn’t be rode and never a man who couldn’t be throwed. No matter how right you think you are about something, it seems like something comes along to prove you wrong. I didn’t think I’d soon see a slower movie than last year’s The Last Station, also about the putrid way a Russian artist (Leo Tolstoy) treated his loving wife, but this latest movie about Igor Stravinsky and Coco Chanel proved that idea wrong.
This is the story about Russian composer Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen) getting it on with French designer Coco Chanel (Anna Mouglalis) while Stravinsky’s family, including his ill wife, Catherine (Elena Morozova) were living with Coco at her country estate. According to this film, Coco seduced Igor. But, who cares? Igor liked it and pursued her.
This movie is so slow it goes into the mundane things of everyday life in early 20th century France. Like when the Stravinskys move in, we see them unpacking and putting things in drawers, and we see the table being set and we see the children swinging in the swings. On and on and on. And, boy, do we see lots of faces thinking. Frankly, I’m not sure that Mikkelsen has much of a voice because in just about everything I’ve seen of him (like 2008’s Flame & Citron) he does a lot of thinking, and not much talking.
The most interesting thing about the film isn’t the illicit romance, it’s the treatment of the première of The Rite of Spring on May 29, 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris under the Ballets Russes with the dancers choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky. Director Jan Kounen recreates the riot that arose as a result of the complex music and violent dance steps depicting fertility rites and the violent dispute between Stravinsky and Nijinsky. Kounen says it was the most complex scene he’s ever had to shoot because he had only three days in the theater and four in the studio.
There only other good things about the movie, other than the nude lovemaking scenes which really aren’t that erotic, are the loving recreation of the period and the performance of Morozova, none of which are worth the price of admission for me.