Dior and I brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons' first haute couture ... See full summary »
Follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's most attended fashion exhibition in history, "China: Through The Looking Glass," an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton.
A story of friendship, a retrospective, and a look at haute couture as business: we watch Valentino Garavani (1932- ) and partner Giancarlo Giammetti from preparation for the 2006 Spring/Summer Collection in Paris to a July 2007 retrospective of Valentino's 45-year career, which included dressing Jacqueline Kennedy. The film documents a year of work, shows, business changes, and decisions. We follow a creation from sketch to runway: he's always in pursuit of beauty. We're in Paris, Rome, and Venice. He receives the French Legion of Honor medal; his acceptance speech brings tears. Reporters ask when he'll retire. Is the Roman retrospective his career's finale? Cue Puccini. Written by
As told to Elvis Mitchell on KCRW's The Treatment (May 6, 2009), Director Matt Tyrnauer recounted that the film almost never made it to a commercial release. Both Giancarlo and Valentino hated the film on first viewing during a private screening in London and "were completely in shock". Although Tyrnauer had final cut, it took him over five months of negotiations before finally showing the film at the Venice film festival. At Venice the entire audience stood and gave a standing ovation to Valentino after the screening and Valentino apparently now loves the film. See more »
In the closing credits, the archival footage from ZIEGFELD GIRL is credited as a "Warner Brothers" movie. It was an MGM movie but is released on home video by Warner Home Video. See more »
Well, we don't want to have nasty rails do we?
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You already know you ought to watch out when a documentary's subtitle borders on pretentious, as in the case of Valentino: The Last Emperor, which shamelessly rips off Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning epic. Sure, it might have been an attempt on the director's part to give the film extra glamor, but it also makes the huge disappointment much harder to swallow: this film gets its wrong so badly it even makes Oliver Stone's flawed Alexander biopic look like Lawrence of Arabia in comparison.
But maybe that's a little harsh. Maybe the hyperbolic title is justified, since the movie's subject matter, Italian designer Valentino Garavani (know only as Valentino to the entire world), is considered the single most important person in the fashion industry of the 20th century. The film aims to show the last days of his "empire" and the party he organized for his retirement, an event which was attended by nearly all the celebrities (mostly film stars) he has dressed over the years. We also get to see glimpses of his personal life, thanks to recollections of how he got started, images of him playing with his dogs and interviews with people such as his business (and life) partner Giancarlo Giammetti. All of this is meant to come together in a vast, respectful portrait of a living legend of sorts.
Why doesn't this happen, then? Well, primarily because the documentary doesn't have a real ark. Aside from when it focuses on the party and its aftermath, the movie consists of a series of clips or interviews which have no coherent link between them. Perhaps this is deliberate, given some scenes try to capture Valentino's famous mood swings, but the depiction that emerges is as lifeless as the fashion king's face (the latter is due to excessive surgery). Throughout the film he speaks Italian, English and French, but fails to convey any real emotions in either language.
In the end, though, the man himself isn't to blame. The problem lies with the director, Matt Tyrnauer, whose biggest defect is the fact that he isn't a filmmaker, but a Vanity Fair journalist. Because of this background, the film isn't as much a tribute as it is a clumsy attempt at sucking-up, which results in the sorry mess Tyrnauer tried to pass off as a proper documentary (how it managed to be selected at the Venice Film Festival, we'll probably never know). Not counting the stylish opening credits, there's absolutely nothing worth seeing here.
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