Tautou shines in Coco Before Chanel
by Fabien Lemercier
21/04/2009 - Not seen on screens since Hunting and Gathering [trailer] (2006), Audrey Tautou makes a triumphant comeback in Anne Fontaine’s Coco Before Chanel [trailer]. Backed by extensive media coverage, the film is being launched in French theatres tomorrow by Warner.
Also starring Benoît Poelvoorde, Marie Gillain, Emmanuelle Devos and Alessandro Nivola, Coco is sold internationally by Films Distribution and will be released in Belgium the same day, in Holland on May 28, in Spain on June 5, in the Czech Republic on June 25 and in Norway on August 28.
Adapted by the director and Camille Fontaine from Edmonde Charles-Roux’s book Chanel and Her World, Coco Before Chanel looks back at the early years of the rise of the future haute couture queen, described by the filmmaker as "a girl from the depths of the provinces who is poor, uneducated, but armed with an extraordinary personality".
Fontaine continued: "She doesn’t have the ambition or the tools to fit in with the bourgeois society which is closed to her. So she draws attention to herself, makes herself desirable and opens doors by being provocative (…). She built herself up by leaning on men and using them to her own advantage".
Regarding the film’s sober visual style, DoP Christophe Beaucarne commented: "We refused to lapse into indulgence and the contemplative side of period films. There are no descriptive crane movements that linger on pretty settings with processions of horse-drawn carriages and endless streams of extras! The film’s richness lies in its refusal to show off its ample budget."
Also of note are Alexandre Desplat’s score, Olivier Radot’s production design and Catherine Leterrier’s costumes.
Produced by Haut et Court and Ciné@ for €19.43m, Coco Before Chanel received co-production support from Warner Bros. France and France 2 Cinéma, and backing from Belgium’s Scope Pictures.
(Translated from French)