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Valentino Documentary Opens 26th Miami International Film Festival

Friday, March 6---------The celebrated documentary VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR will kick off festivities at the 26th Miami International Film Festival, with a special screening this evening at the historic Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the Spanish-style art deco movie palace in downtown Miami.

The film chronicles the life and career of Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani as he wraps up his celebrated 50 year career as the guru of international fashion. The last ina long line of couturiers who forged a global brand out of the refined art of haute couturier, the film is directed by former Vanity Fair journalist Matt Tyrnauer.

The film is an intimate look at the behind the scenes empire as Valentino prepares his last major fashion extravaganza. Forced by market pressures to sell his company, the film not only illustrates the passing of an era but is also a very human portrait of a tireless diva perfectionist who has both an imperious and loving relationship with his army of workers and a complicated love/hate relationship with Giancarlo Giammetti, his sometime boyfriend and constant life and business partner.

The film had a celebrated world premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival, where it was praised for its unique look at the fashion industry and its portrait of the demanding yet emotional couturier who is the last of his kind. The documentary begins with the Paris pret-a-porter show in February 2007 that turned out to be Valentino's last, criss-crossing between the designer’s palatial Parisian mansion and his Rome atelier. What the film with its attention to detail makes very clear is that Valentino considers himself first and foremost an artist, with his dazzling dresses an expression of handmade works of art. It is not a stretch to see how this demanding diva could fall afoul of current market forces, represented by his new “patron”.

Voyeurs have plenty to feast their eyes on with the lavish homes and lifestyle enjoyed by the permanently tanned Valentino. Getting the biggest laughs are the designer’s dogs, six ridiculously pampered pugs who fly first class with him and who he spoils in ways that are staggering and unintentionally hilarious.

Celebrity friends like Gwyneth Paltrow, Elton John and a brace of minor Euro-royals provide background color, as does the extensive use of Italian film composer Nino Rota's Fellini scores, that underline the end-of-the-circus melancholia that is the film's defining mood.

In fashion-mad Miami, that has its own outrageous sense of fashion and is still, even in these economically stressed times, a place for superstars and commoners to live out their most lavish dreams, the film should have special resonance.

Sandy Mandelberger, Miami FF Spotlight Editor 


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Mandelberger Sandy

March 6-15, 2009

United States

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