Movie Review by Neil Sadler
Starring: Karl Lagerfeld, Nicole Kidman, Princess Caroline of Monaco
Director: Rodolphe Marconi
If a filmmaker expects you to spend 90 minutes in someone’s company – you would expect them to be enigmatic or interesting enough to want to spend that time with them. Karl Lagerfeld says himself that he wishes to be a ghost and want to remain unknown and sadly for the audience and the filmmaker, here he both succeeds and fails.
It is perhaps unfair to judge a film on its subject. The director obviously has a great passion for his Lagerfeld and was allowed an unprecedented amount of time with him. I suspect however that there was a certain amount of manipulation involved. For the most part we are shown a man at work and part of that work is the persona he creates and I very rarely got the sense of the mask slipping. Lagerfeld is the face of Chanel and it is this face we see most of the time.
We are in the glacial cold world of fashion here – a world like an episode of UGLY BETTY but devoid of all humour and drama. As Robert Altman discovered to his peril, whilst the fashion industry is may be a mockery of itself and it is devoid of an ability to look back on and laugh at itself that any attempt to mock it, falls flat.
The director wisely avoids much humour here, although Lagerfeld himself has a certain dry wit, but I couldn’t escape the fact that here was a man who had succeeded more through self-promotion than talent. If this film is designed to show the creative mind at work, sadly all that seemed to involve was Mr Lagerfeld sat amongst a pile of books scribbling very vague sketches of dresses or taking lots of photos of preppy looking models in various states of undress.
It doesn’t outstay its welcome but if the film is meant to reveal, it fails. For me, Lagerfeld was just as confidential at the end as at the start.