Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Last night I saw the new French film, Coco Avant Chanel. The morning after, I still feel steeped in little black dresses, fake pearls, Alexander Desplat's melancholy score, and Audrey Tautou's dark sad eyes.

Didn't expect anything from it in the way of revelation, certainly nothing approaching social commentary, and was surprised to find both in this ostensibly run-of-the-mill biopic. Chanel's life was tragic and charmed, her style a product of her no-nonsense sensibility, her unapologetic unsentimentality, and her practical eye for found art.

Naturally, I enjoyed the period aesthetics, the austerity, the flapper bobs, the minimalism; but I was also surprisingly taken by the nuanced portrayals of Chanel's career-enhancing love affairs, and the ways in which she was able to make a career out of her craft, applying her innate intuitive senses of style and of self toward a self-sustaining artistic profession as a woman in the 1920s and beyond. (Not to mention the melancholy portrait of a doomed love affair that endured and yet, was not meant to be.)

Read Mick LaSalle's Chron review here; then traipse over to the Guardian for a more disturbing look at the conveniently-untold story of Chanel's Nazi love affairs. (Erghh - that's awkward.)

Coco Meets Her Match in Tautou (SFGate)
Coco Chanel: Enduring Style, Fairytale Story - Just Don't Mention the Nazi Lover (Guardian)


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