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Coco Avant Chanel keeps tight focus 

Director Anne Fontaine's biopic focuses on Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s early days

Anyone hungry for fashion gluttony should continue to wait patiently for the Vogue doc The September Issue, or rent Valentino: The Last Emperor. Adapted from Edmonde Charles-Roux’s biography, Coco Avant Chanel, starring the always-endearing Audrey Tautou, focuses on Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s early days. Life is bleak---Chanel and her sister are abandoned at an orphanage by their father, and spend hardworking years as seamstresses and saloon singers. Chanel’s singular determination to overcome her surroundings leads her into rich country homes and beds, where she emerges as a tailored gem among feathers and corsets. Unlike the wide scope of Mira Nair’s Earhart biopic Amelia, director Anne Fontaine keeps her focus tight, but rewards the Project Runway set with glimpses of Chanel’s inspirations: lingering shots of nun’s habits, striped sailor sweaters and equestrian wear.

Coco Before Chanel
Rated PG-13 (MPAA) · 110 min. · 2009
Official Site:
Director: Anne Fontaine
Writer: Anne Fontaine, Camille Fontaine and Edmonde Charles-Roux
Producer: Caroline Benjo, Philippe Carcassonne and Carole Scotta
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola, Marie Gillain, Emmanuelle Devos, Régis Royer, Etienne Bartholomeus, Yan Duffas, Fabien Béhar and Roch Leibovici


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