Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

Rated 4.0

The 1920s love affair between composer Igor Stravinsky and designer Coco Chanel is not unusually eventful, but Jan Kounen’s sumptuously atmospheric account of it on film (adapted from a novel by Chris Greenhalgh, who collaborated with Kounen and Carlo de Boutiny on the screenplay) exercises an offbeat fascination. More speculative fiction than romantic biopic, it’s really also more sketch than story—a mood piece for two glamorous icons, a pas de deux for rapturous somnambulists, a chamber piece and double portrait set to music. It opens with a lengthy and brilliantly designed re-creation of the riotous 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s epochal “Rite of Spring,” at which Chanel was in (apparently rapt) attendance, and then moves on to their meeting in 1920 and the subsequent dalliances later in the decade. The couple’s slow-motion pursuit of their mutual passions does not make for great drama, but Kounen uses echoes of “Rite of Spring,” Stravinsky’s music and Sergei Diaghilev’s ballet moves, to enliven and enrich the playing-out of the pair’s convoluted romance. Mads Mikkelsen is a little too stolid to make for a really trenchant Stravinsky, but Anna Mouglalis—with her gravelly lisp and mysterious reserve—makes a fine Coco. Audrey Tautou caught her look better in Coco Before Chanel, but Mouglalis gives us a much richer sense of the woman. Pageant Theatre. Rated R