Δευτέρα, 6 Ιουλίου 2009

VALENTINO THE LAST EMPEROR


Interview With Director Matt Tyrnauer


Valentino: The Last Emperor, produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine, is an intimate and engaging fly-on-the-wall exploration of the singular world of one of Italy's most famous men. The film documents the colorful and dramatic closing act of Valentino's celebrated career, tells the story of his extraordinary life, and explores the larger themes affecting the fashion business today. At the heart of the film is the unique relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti. Here follows the Ohlala Interview with movie creator Matt Tyrnauer:

Q: Tell us about Valentino The Last Emperor experience ?
MT: Surreal at times. Blissful at others. Like all major projects, 7th ring of hell on occasion. This is a movie that on its surface is about fashion, about the designer Valentino, but there are other layers of complexity. It's really, in fact, a love story about Valentino and his partner of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti. This relationship is a proto-gay marriage: a partnership of exquisite complexity and almost supernatural closeness. It is also fascinating to watch. It’s the core of the movie. The relationship is why I wanted to make the movie. I am not a fashion writer. For me the movie has fashion as a backdrop to a universal story of love and commitment, about going someplace together, and achieving your dreams together. This for two men is rather hard to do. But I was fascinated by this partnership that endured and also, by the by, produced a multi-billion dollar empire. The movie chronicles the end of that empire, as the light on the world of haute couture is practically extinguished with the retirement of Valentino.The experience of actually making the film brought me to Rome about once a month, where I entered the world of Valentino: where the halls are perfumed each day before his arrival, every meal is served by waiters with white gloves, and five pugs fly private. It all sounds very cozy and beautiful, and it is. But there were challenges: Valentino and Giancarlo, being Olympic class control freaks, were not easy to work with. That is not to say that they are not extraordinary and worth the trouble, but they are just used to things being done their way. I had final cut on a film about them, so I was sometimes a thorn in their side, and they let me know that without any hesitation. Valentino was losing it left and right, sometimes on camera. He is given to some fits in the course of the work day, and you have to give him that. He is a perfectionist genius. Giancarlo, much the same for his end of things, the business. He can pitch a good, effective, fit. I put a lot of Valentino's explosions in the movie, as I think they help communicate the full idea of who he is. (Did he like that? No. Did he ask me not to do it? More or less. But I told him many times: If you come off looking like a perfect rare flower, you will not be admired at the end of this film. You need to show some struggle, some flaws. And he does, and he is happy now that he does. He says he accepts it, and he sees that the public only loves him more for showing his flaws.) Suffice it to say that even on the eve of the Venice Film Festival, where we had our world premiere, Valentino and Giancarlo still had grave doubts about the film, and specifically their roles. After the screening (1,600 in the sale grande on the Lido), the movie got a standing ovation, and Valenitno burst into tears. They have embraced the movie since that day
Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
MT: The films of Robert Aldrich, John Ford and Howard Hawks; the writing of Gore Vidal and Edith Wharton; southern Italy, the presidency of Barack Obama.

Q: Your most marked characteristic?
MT: Blond hair, blue eyes, Jew. What you see is not always what you get.

Q: What is your greatest fear in life?
MT: Italy will become more like France.

Q: When and where were you happiest?
MT: Commuting from New York to Rome film this movie.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
MT: My collection of signed Gore Vidal first editions.

Q: What do you most value in people?
MT: Humor.

Q: Where would you like to live?
MT: Commuting between L.A., New York and Naples, Italy, would be ideal.

Q: Where do you see your self five years from now ?
MT: Che sarà, sarà. Live in the moment.

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