Chanel’s burgeoning empire is underlined. Independent women often posses a crafty, protean nature and Coco is no exception. Coco the entrepreneur wants to distill a potion, a perfume to accompany her clothes. She does not want to smell like a rose and demands a little alchemy from the French perfumers—they deliver Chanel No. 5.
Passion aplenty continues to bloom between Igor and Coco. His wife looks at his lust as a small price to pay for great music, but she needs to retain the reins of muse. Their marriage looks bleak too, since she is dying from within of tuberculosis and losing her husband at the same time. Catherine packs up to leave and Igor tries to dissuade her by saying that the affair is nearly done. It makes no difference. She and the children will no longer inhabit the chateau and part for Biarritz leaving Coco a little note expressing her moral outrage. In the final thirty minutes, after the wife departs, things fall apart between the couple. They indulge in separation rather than fornication.
Then, in the last few minutes, the film flashbacks in slow motion like a person reviewing life before death. Igor and Coco have grown old and apart. The lust lost along the way with nothing to take its place. Separate lives and separate careers feed the denouement.
Kounen’s Coco and Igor seem to struggle within their roles while they go through the motions in a gorgeous montage of frames that only fit together because we are told they do. I wanted to love this Igor and Coco affair. I was expecting Unbearable Lightness of Being but got A Little Night Music instead—an almost virginal effort from an accomplished director who had two rich subjects to inspire his direction. I was not really inspired by this beautiful period piece, but fairly entertaining French film, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes