Starring Anna Mouglalis, straight-backed, elegant, and confident, as the preternaturally chic designer (and formidable businesswoman), and Mads Mikkelsen as the inward, intense musical genius, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is a series of beautiful snapshots of their years-long liaison. It's an affair that had its roots at that 1913 performance: Chanel smiling approvingly in the Champs-Élysées theater, as the crowd around her roared with offense at Stravinsky's work.
In 1920, after the World War, she meets Stravinsky and soon is offering her country manor for the impoverished composer, his wife and children to live in. But this is an act less of charity, or patronage, than of selfishness and desire. She can keep Stravinsky close, watch him work, and take him to bed. (And take him in the woods, or wherever else she likes.)
It isn't long before Stravinsky's wife, Catherine (Elena Morozova), realizes what's going on. The fissure between the couple, and the effect of Stravinsky's reckless obsession on the children, are palpable.
Mouglalis offers a cold and steely version of the French fashion icon (in marked contrast to Audrey Tautou's Coco Before Chanel). Mikkelsen (who was the villain in the last Bond film, Quantum of Solace) offers a Stravinsky who is rumpled, raging, full of passion. And Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky offers two hours of luxury and loveliness, music and art, and a bit of sexually charged madness, too.
Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/onmovies