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Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

A handsome, if unsurprising account of a real-life love affair

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It's not really a sequel, but Jan Kounen's film does take up where Anne Fontaine's Coco Before Chanel left off. It's Paris in the 1920s, and Coco Chanel (Anna Mouglalis) is now a respected couturier and a wealthy patron of the arts. In her sights: Igor Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen), the Russian composer whom the recent Bolshevik revolution has left stateless and short on cash. Coco invites Igor, along with his consumptive wife, Katarina (Yelena Morozova), and their four young children, to stay at her country home. There, the inevitable occurs: Igor succumbs to Coco's oh-so-modern charms; Katarina pines; Igor feels bad; and Coco shrugs and invents an iconic perfume.

The film presents little in the way of dramatic surprise or tension. (Look at its perfunctory title!) What it does offer is nice understated performances (the leads are more likely to gaze pointedly than to speak); a pleasant, if mild, naughty air; and gorgeous sets and costumes. (The filmmakers were granted access to archives of Chanel's wardrobe and personal effects.)

What little passion Coco & Igor offers is in the film's lively opening, which depicts Chanel attending the infamous 1913 premiere of Stravinksy's ballet The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Nijinksy. The then-scandalous work so outraged the Parisian elite that it sparked a true rarity -- a riot among the upper classes. These scenes are great fun, and much more noteworthy than yet another extramarital affair among beautiful people. In French and Russian, with subtitles. Starts Fri., July 23. Regent Square

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