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Coco Before Chanel (movie)
A tough but elegant turn as fledgling Coco Chanel
A tough but elegant turn as fledgling Coco Chanel

During World War II, trend-setting French designer Coco Chanel, who extolled the virtues of simplicity -- albeit very expensive simplicity -- had a love affair with a German officer. She was once arrested on war crime charges but was set free through the intervention of the British royal family. But don't look for that controversial chapter of her life in the new French film "Coco Before Chanel," which opens Friday. The lavish two-hour biopic concentrates on her life before she became famous. "I didn't want to go into the 1930s and '40s," says writer-director Anne Fontaine ("The Girl From Monaco"). "I wanted to be free. I didn't want...

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