Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lagerfeld Confidential premiers at Berlinale

Last night I took in Rodolphe Marconi's Lagerfeld Confidential, which was a bit like sitting through 88 minutes of E! Like so many of the Berlinale events, however, the venue itself was worth the price of admission. The fabulous Kino International remains a show-piece of 'GDR modernism'; built in the early 1960s, it retains the great optimism and idealism of an era when East Berlin was the unofficial capitol of the Eastern Bloc. Strolling down Karl-Marx-Allee to the Kino today one can easily picture the throngs from across communist Europe coming to see what a bright future the collective state held for their own towns and villages.

Mindful of this past, it was a little hard to take seriously the story in front of me and the gravity with which it was told -- that of a Hamburg-born fashion designer growing up in a wealthy family in Lübeck, his dash to Paris at a young age to construct himself as a great French couturist, and his reluctance to ever look back long enough to come to terms with his own distinct 'Germanness'. As a portrait of a very private man this riches-to-ragtrade story is useful, but let's hope the advertorial documentary doesn't become the new black.

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