IF FILM AND FASHION WERE HUMAN BEINGS THEY WOULD HATE EACH OTHER Hitlist THE BEST FILM & DVD RELEASES*
Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel
✽✽ Rumba Surreal French/Belgium dance film. See review, page 50. Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Tue 4–Thu 6 Aug. ✽✽ Bruno Love him or loath him, Sacha Baren Cohen’s characters certainly know how to leave a lasting impression. In Bruno, Cohen’s Austrian fashionista looks for a new career with more than a little laughter along the way. General release from Fri 10 Jul. ✽✽ AntiChrist Attracting both shock and awe in equal measures from its Cannes outing, two go mad in the forest, as Lars Von Trier’s controversial horror unleashes chaos. See feature, page 26 and review, page 51. Selected release from Fri 24 Jul. ✽✽ Coco Before Chanel French fashion house legend biopic with Audrey Tautou. See preview, left and review, page 50. General release from Fri 31 Jul. ✽✽ Cloud 9 Love and sex geriatric-style in Andreas Dresen’s brave dissection of elderly mores. See Also Released, page 51. Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 31 Jul-Mon 3 Aug. ✽✽ 35 Shots of Rum Claire Beau Travail Denis’ lovely portrait of a father’s bond with his daughter. Selected release, out now. ✽✽ Moon Duncan Jones’ inspired tale of lunar madness starring Sam Rockwell and a scary computer (voiced by Kevin Spacey). Selected release, out now. ✽✽ Soul Power Get your toes tapping with this funky docu- style concert film. Selected release, out now. ✽✽ Public Enemies Michael Mann’s very fine original gangster epic, starring Johnny Depp. General release, out now. 23 Jul–6 Aug 2009 THE LIST 49
As a slew of films and documentaries about fêted fashion houses gears up for release, Paul Dale ponders the old alliance between film and fashion
A s enjoyable as Coco Before Chanel – the giddy biopic of the reputed Nazi collaborator couturier starring Audrey Tautou – is, it underlined a hard, learned truth for me. Fashion and films co-exist – there is no symbiosis between the two. If they were human beings they would hate each other, but vanity and a certain spirit of self- preservation keeps these two monstrosities of commerce faking it all the way up the red carpet.
Let me explain. Many years ago I tried to launch a magazine called Film and Fashion (catchy name huh? Hey, I was young). Our admittedly pompous mission statement was to ‘catch the zeitgeist of glamour and fashion at the point where it intercepts with great cinema.’ Whatever that means. The idea was to get clever, possibly brilliant writers to write savvy, suave and intellectual articles from the frontline of high fashion as represented at the movies. If Jean Paul Gaultier was working with Abel Ferrara, we wanted to know about it, and more than that we wanted to unpick what that meant in terms of historical context, philosophy and broad socio-economics. As you can tell, the magazine was always going to have a slim readership. As this was before the days of a widely available internet I tried unsuccessfully to secure some public funding for publishing and then borrowed a small amount of cash from media friends. That money I spent on a self-proclaimed marketing hotshot who promised to get the advertising from distribution companies and fashion companies rolling in while staking Film and Fashion’s place in the kudos-heavy marketplace alongside the excellent
Dazed and Confused (then redefining itself as more filmcentric than most fashion-led magazines). To cut a long story short Film and Fashion was less a footnote to British publishing history than a complete non-event. Fashion companies were less than enthused by a product that preached bio- diversity with a business they felt superior to, while distribution companies saw little advantage trading their wares in a near-academic journal as schizophrenic as Film and Fashion.
Anyway, since those heady days I’ve had the suspicion that the relationship between couture and cinema is all surface and no depth. Issey Miyake may gift one of his latest creations to Angelina Jolie to stroll up some blood-coloured rug or Sex and the City hench-woman Patricia Field may be able to beg a sack-full of Manolos for any one of the ever unfolding SATC movie sequels, but it’s all really just shrewd product placement.
One has to look back to the 1950s and Stanley Donen’s wonderfully fluffy Funny Face (the mighty Edith Head working with Givenchy) or Hitchcock’s Rear Window (Head again channelling postwar couture and new designs in indigo denim) and Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life (costume designer Mary Wills mixing up high end fashion and suburban preppy chic) to find a collaboration that had anything to do with art and essence. After Coco, sleeping with the enemy was no longer de rigueur.
Coco Before Chanel is on general release from Fri 31 Jul. See review, page 50.