Chanel on Screen

by HelluvaGirl

Beginning with the last weekend, I decided to find out what the cinema world has created about the most outstanding woman in the world of fashion. The first film I saw about her was in my childhood, Chanel Solitaire. Would love to see it again; however, the 1981 release is pretty hard to find.

There are several other films about the fashion giant and so far I’ve managed to watch Coco avant Chanel with Audrey Tautou, which all normal people saw last year. The idea of the movie was to picture the woman before she got famous and show what lead her to the worldwide acclaim. Audrey is lovable even when she plays a stubborn woman fighting with mainstream trends and manners. And Alessandro Nivola playing her love Arthur Boy Capel was the first man I’ve seen in a moustache I’d refer to as sexy.

To my mind, the success of the film lies in the famous biography it portrays, which will never seize to attract people, and in superb acting. It surprises me greatly how a rude and grumpy woman can be so charming. Of course, she’s witty and talented, therefore naturally ridicules her overdressed milieu.

And the way she was remaking clothes in the film? It felt so easy, she seemed to know what she as doing so well I started believing I could sew myself!

Thought maybe there were films about Chanel that showed more of her as a designer – will have to make time for that. What I already saw, is Chanel Coco & Igor Stravinsky about the already-famous designer’s affair with the Russian composer.

The beginning seemed promising as the Russian speaking actors talked without that funny accent they usually have in non-Russian productions. However, Mad Mikkelsen playing Stravinsky mumbled Danish Russian which was a bit, you know, inconsistent.

(By the by, to those who haven’t seen him starring in Adam’s Apples, it’s a must-see. Unless you don’t appreciate the Scandinavian humour which is hilarious. Oh, and the film has nothing to do with fashion.)

But the worst part of the movie was Anna Mouglalis, who may have been a success in her role as Simone de Beauvoir, but here, trying to portray a willful and independent woman, she looked more like a runway model who swallowed a very long stick and who thought her main job on the set was to walk like a model, talk like a model and not talk like a model. There are playful and artistic models who manage to impersonate just about anything – just to be clear I don’t have anything against them. But I felt very much disappointed as there was supposed to be electricity between the two characters, and I saw only a stiff overacting woman and a guy who looked a bit like Freddy Mercury.

Ok, there were ideas. Like, they had things in common: Stravinsky in the beginning was met with great disapproval for his music which was too modern at the time, and Chanel felt empathy as she also broke the rules and went against the flow. Chanel outrageously indulged in love affair with Igor in the eyes of his wife and kids because she stressed her independence and intention to do whatever she liked – remember her confession to Boy in Coco avant Chanel? She said she’d rather be a lover but never a wife who is left to do her boring chores and warm an empty bed? In this film, it is well depicted. Chanel took what she wanted. She also supported Igor as a composer, which was a big change in male and female roles at the time.

But everything in a film can be ruined by bad acting. Wonder why they chose Mouglalis? I know she’s Lagerfeld’s muse but does that make her good for the role? Not so sure.

Anyway, if you think otherwise, would love to hear about it 🙂

Photo: pacific-standard.blogspot.com, adrianasassoon.wordpress.com, theglobeandmail.com, citylife.co.uk, daemonsmovies.com, sanfranciscosentinel.com, slackerwood.com