Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Coco - a movie worth seeing

"She made the tan popular after returning from a cruise to Cannes with a sunburn."

This quote is about Coco Chanel, who is featured in a recent French movie I saw called "Coco before Chanel" (link2). It is a gorgeous movie about a woman I knew very little about. She started out as an orphan growing up in an orphanage and lived through very difficult times until she eventually found love and started her clothing company. Through it all she was stubborn, brave, and different - she was the first woman to dress in men's clothes ("because it is more comfortable"), to refuse the corset and to refuse an abundance of embellishments on hats and dresses. She looked for simplicity in everything.

Coco Chanel was really a rebel - she refused to dress in the Victorian era's movement-limiting dresses, she refused to get married and insisted on working, which was unheard of for upper-class women at that time. She wasn't upper class at all, but lived in the upper-class for several years. I never really cared much for her fashion clothes, but with this movie, I have reevaluated so much of it. I think it was mainly because of the American women associated with the clothes - they don't seem to have too much in common with her. Plus I have a real problem with too much gold on clothes, pink tweed, and thick gold chains, which is what I have associated Chanel with in the past. But back to the movie.

The movie itself goes over many years but it seems to always be November or December in the movie - foggy and misty. I love French movies when they let the story take its time. In Hollywood I think they would have rushed it, for example not let a long sequence just show a horse carriage go across a lonely road for seconds and seconds and seconds. It really is a fantastic movie. Coco is played by Audrey Tautou, one of my favorite French actresses. (The color images are from the movie, the black and white photo is of the real Coco Chanel.)

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