‘Coco and Igor’ Sounds and Looks Good, but …

The closing night selection of the festival, "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky," a tale of romance between historic figures, succeeded in the environment of its premiere simply because it was soothing on the eyes.   After 12 days of intense viewing sessions, the opportunity to gaze at something beautiful for two hours seemed like a […]

Last Updated: May 23, 2009 @ 10:39 PM

The closing night selection of the festival, "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky," a tale of romance between historic figures, succeeded in the environment of its premiere simply because it was soothing on the eyes.

 

After 12 days of intense viewing sessions, the opportunity to gaze at something beautiful for two hours seemed like a well-deserved conclusion.

 

That’s not to say that "Coco," a streamlined dramatization of an ill-fated affair between the eponymous early 20th-century figures that may or may not have happened, lacks any faults.

But it thrives on rich historical details, and contains a frenzied conclusion in which Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen) composes "The Rite of Spring" in a heat of passion while Chanel (Anna Mouglalis) avoids him — which is to say, the soundtrack rocks.

 

Still, "Coco," directed by Jan Kounen, suffers from major plot holes surrounding the details of the affair, as it takes place after Stravinsky and his family move into Chanel’s home when she offers him a recording space.

 

The movie has a brilliant opening sequence, but ends on a vague note, as if it’s missing an explanatory scene. However, these flaws might be short-lived, since the director plans to continue working on a final cut after the festival.

 

As biopics go, "Coco" seems like it’s in a good place. Last year’s closing night film at Cannes, Barry Levinson’s adaption of Hollywood producer Art Linson memoir "What Just Happened," arrived at the festival without a distributor, and only landed a fleeting U.S. release through producer Todd Wagner’s Magnolia Pictures.

 

"Coco," by contrast, was snatched up by Sony Pictures Classics early in the festival, which means classical music junkies can revel in its sounds or debate the historical details sometime in the forseeable future at a theater near you. Whatever they think of it, at the end of the day, they get to see it.

 

Even as Cannes closes its doors, the festival opens to the public.