Coco Avant Chanel Anne Fontaine

Coco Avant Chanel Anne Fontaine
Apparently, there are folks out there that were outraged about both the portrayal of Coco Chanel and the fact that someone made a movie about her. They felt that by not delving into some of her more erratic fancies Anne Fontaine's crisp, respectable biopic did the famous designer a disservice. As to why anyone would be offended by a feminist pioneer outside of Appalachia, I am at a loss. Sure, she got pelvic with a douchebag to further herself, but it's no worse morally than being a corporate sycophant. Taking on the title role of Coco Chanel, Amélie's Audrey Tautou shows some serious acting chops, perfecting that steely, all-knowing glare, giving a harsh femininity without coming off as unappealing. In the DVD supplements, which, by the way, are exhaustive, thoughtful and run for over an hour, she discusses her approach to the character and her analysis, showing the sharp mind behind the pretty face. Interviews with her and other actors Emmanuelle Devos and Benoit Poelvoorde, along with the director (an articulate Anne Fontaine), take up most of the "Making of" and interview segments of the special features, which have the added bonus of English subtitles for Anglophones. They add context to the decision to detail Coco's life before becoming famous with a quiet respectability, mixing and manipulating the real people around her to suit narrative needs. As Coco Avant Chanel takes us from the titular fashion icon's early beginnings as a seamstress and low class singer through to her liaison with a Baron to her decision to design hats in Paris, we get a building sense of her design motivations and psychological temperament. Clothing for women, at the time, was overly accessorized, burdened by corsets and functionally ridiculous hats, which left people unable to move naturally. Coco was keen on being able to walk and move her head without struggling. Go figure. It's an appropriate, if obvious, through line that gives historical context to the woman herself, along with the impact she had on the world around her. Exceptional performances, a beautiful technical package and an overall maturity make this a worthwhile, if somewhat dry, endeavour. (Alliance)