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Fascinated by the “person hidden by the sunglasses,” Rodolphe Marconi has been transfixed by the idea of making a documentary about Karl Lagerfeld for ten years. During this feature-length documentary surely destined to be a benchmark, Marconi proposes to penetrate “the Karl Lagerfeld mystery.” The director hence becomes the guardian of Lagerfeld’s daily life, and the latter totally commits himself to the project. For the first time, Karl Lagerfeld accepts to share his day to day life and to open up to a director.
To this day, no biography has been authorized and Lagerfeld’s memoirs remain absolutely secret. Rodolphe Marconi started work immediately after their first encounter. He then joined forces with Grégory Bernar and Realitism Films to finance this project in an original fashion, exclusively thanks to private investors.
After three years and more than three hundred hours of footage, Marconi unveils, with a filmmaker’s gaze, Karl Lagerfeld’s daily life, and the intimacy of a personality who has maintained a deep silence. The spectator participates in a philosophical promenade up close with its subject: the preparation of a garment, interviews, photo sessions, his collection of books about art, Chanel, Fendi, Lagerfeld Gallery (Karl Lagerfeld’s label today), the most beautiful women in the world, actresses, and personalities from around the world.
Rodolphe Marconi’s camera gets up close and personal with a hyperactive life; and, between the lines, we discover discreetly hidden moments of solitude, pain, quiet reading, deep feeling.
The director discovers an insomniac intellectual, passionate about literature, film, painting, crazy about Art Deco and contemporary art, esthetics pushed to the limit, chic, luxury, and beautiful objects. Karl Lagerfeld’s character is revealed to us: affectionate and authoritarian, full of humor, with this desire to play jokes and amuse, to surprise and always be there where he’s least expected. Marconi also discovers the shattering moments of a life, the lonely man deeply upset by the death of the person with whom he’d shared his life for many years, a man who nevertheless will not tolerate nostalgia: “If it truly was better before, we may as well kill ourselves right away.”
With this feature film, selected for the 2007 Berlin Film Festival, Rodolphe Marconi manages to put the two facets of Karl Lagerfeld alongside each other: the image of a fashion and communication genius, and that less known of a man passionate about reading alone, culture and having time to reflect. This film is, however, intimist and gets to the core of a man “whose day to day life and flair for living are a disappearing in today’s world.”