The Italian Almanac



Italian fashion icon Valentino said a documentary about him screened at the Venice Film Festival was ''truthful'', but that certain scenes were ''a bit long''. The designer gave his verdict after the world premier of Valentino: The Last Emperor by American Vanity Fair reporter Matt Tyrnauer received a standing ovation at the festival. ''There's all of me, with great sincerity. The moments of rage, anger, annoyance, the funny times: it's me, absolutely natural,'' he said.

The 76-year-old fashion icon, who retired in January after 50 years dressing the world's most glamorous women, has called the documentary his ''authorised biography''. Tyrnauer made the film during Valentino's final two years at the helm of his fashion empire and includes footage of the designer's jet-set life style in his mountain chalet in Gstaad, his 17th-century castle near Paris, his 19th-century London town house, his Manhattan apartment and his 46-metre yacht. But there is also extensive footage of Valentino at work in his Rome studio, sketching designs in pencil, giving instructions for material to be cut and speaking with his team of tailors.

''I thought the scenes in the fashion house were a bit long,'' Valentino said. ''But they tell me that those are the ones the public will appreciate the most because they are the most unprecedented,'' he added. Valentino and his longstanding companion and business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, who also gets considerable screen time, stressed that they had not been paid to take part in the documentary and had allowed Tyrnauer complete artistic freedom.

''We accepted that there would be things in the documentary that it would have been better not to have shown, but our faith in Matt was total,'' said Giammetti. ''He had the freedom to film even when we didn't want him to''. Venice film fest chief, Marco Mueller, called the documentary ''the most fictionalised non-fiction film I have seen lately''.