The latest Chanel biopic "Coco Avant Chanel" with Audrey Tautou opened this week to rave reviews. The critics said they loved it passionnément. Excellent.
However, there is now a major polemic swirling around the posters for the film designed to be slotted onto the sides of buses throughout France. This part you will not believe. The controversy in which the RATP -- the public transportation people -- refuses to put Audrey/Coco on display is because she is holding -- are you ready (?): a cigarette(!)
We're in France for heaven's sake.
Some law apparently prohibits the public display of smoking in advertising wherein one might deduce the practice is condoned, glamorous, encouraged.
Need I mention we're in Gauloise country? Admittedly this ad for the famed cigarettes definitely makes smoking seem seductive and proclaims, lest anyone have a doubt: "The cigarette for real smokers." But that was then, this is now.
In the case of the film's publicity the cigarette is a symbol, c'est tout. It was another of Chanel's public manifestations exulting her liberation, free spirit, devil-may-care, break the rules brilliance along with trousers, navel officers' T-shirts, masses of costume jewelry and bobbed hair. She was modern in every way and set women free from their corseted, cosseted lives.
Roselyne Bachelot, minister of health, youth and sports, bravely declared she thought the controversy was ridiculous, but the powers that be over at the transportation terminals said it was a legal obligation on their part and it was basically none of the minister's business.
(If you wish to read more about the film please see March 31, post.)