Sunday, April 12, 2009

Valentino: The Last Emperor

I recently went to see Valentino: The Last Emperor at Film Forum, a charming little theater located at 209 W. Houston.

Before the film, the director, Matt Tyrnauer, spoke briefly, informing us that the film took two years to make, that it was somewhat difficult to shoot because of the quirkiness of its subject, ahem Valentino Garavani (the very-tanned, very-legendary fashion designer), and that by the time they were finished they had over 290 hours of footage. He also told us that the film was barely advertised, barring some publicity from Oprah. This pleased me--I like the idea of advertisement in the form of word-of-mouth.

The film is a documentary, which does not tell the entire story of Valentino's life. Rather, it focuses on his last two years as the designer for the company he founded 45 years ago. It is, at once, a love story and a charming elegy, for Valentino and for fashion. It mourns for the end of his career and for the way fashion once was--in an ever-so-blithesome way.

n.b. Despite the lack of advertising, the film's box office numbers have already surpassed those of Monsters vs. Aliens.

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