Thursday, January 26, 2012
THE SECRET OF CHANEL NO. 5
COCO CHANEL and IGOR STRAVINSKY. It's based on a book by an English poet named Greenhaigh, and is set in 1913 when the famous designer becomes enthralled by the Russian composer's music, and invites him to stay at her country estate outside Paris. Stravinsky, composer of The Rite of Spring (one of the most influential pieces of music ever written, and a turning point in music itself) frames the musical backdrop of the film as Coco seduces Igor despite his children and wife being present. There's not a lot of dialogue in the movie, and we don't learn many specifics about the characters, so it's rather a case of style over substance, but it is quite unusual nonetheless and very well acted and directed (similar to the romance about Chopin and George Sand titled "Impromptu.") I can't recommend the book as much as the film Coco & Igor, however an excellent book about the creation of Coco's famous perfume is THE SECRET OF CHANEL NO. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume. It's by Tilar J. Mazzeo and narrated by Liz de Nesnera, available at Audible. It reveals the history of the perfume, and perfumes in general, along with much intriguing backstory related to Coco. In the movie we see Coco, played by French actress Anna Mouglalis, actually choosing the scent from among hundreds presented to her. "There are over eighty ingredients," says the perfumer. "I want to smell like a woman, not a rose," Coco had instructed him.