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The Director: Tribeca Review

The Bottom Line

The familiar-feeling fashion doc is of interest to Vogue addicts only.

Venue:

Tribeca Film Festival, Spotlight

Director-Director of photography:

Christina Voros

Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini is the subject of the doc from director Christina Voros and exec producer James Franco.

NEW YORK — A behind-the-scenes fashion doc that feels no need to explain why it finds Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini so interesting, Christina Voros's The Director is considerably more ordinary than Kink, the filmmaker's exploration of BDSM porn that premiered this January at Sundance. The film is for serious fashionistas only, and within that audience one suspects many will feel they've seen this all many times before.

It's unsurprising that a doc set in one of the world's great fashion houses would introduce itself with a pretentious subtitle like, "An Evolution in Three Acts," but one expects that structural conceit to make some kind of sense. Here, the chunk of film labeled "The Present" is the one in which we hear all about the subject's early years, family, and first job; "The Future" is the chapter in which Giannini notes (correctly, but inconveniently for the segment's label) that referring to markets like China as "emerging" is silly considering the importance they have already attained; the segment labeled "The Past" makes a few mentions of Giannini's interest in the Gucci archive, but shows us very little of it before moving on to casting sessions for the latest menswear runway show.

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Those sessions contain a few of the film's most interesting moments, including the tactful dressing-down of a young man who, though lovely, has no idea how to walk for spectators. Rather than dismiss him, Giannini offers some constructive coaching, including the advice that, since many designers don't pair their couture lines with sneakers, he might want to get accustomed to proper shoes.

The director is more blunt with her full-time collaborators, though we have to wait an hour to see her engage in anything close to design. We watch as her team brings in dozens of outfits, bags and shoes, which she culls through, critiques, and tweaks. In one scene, she rejects almost an entire table of handbag prototypes, dismissing some with the comment, "I think they're all sad."

"An immense sadness," agrees the stylish young man presenting them to her.

The Giannini we meet here is a likeable, unpretentious woman who appears able to make things happen without tantrums or pettiness. But her personality doesn't scream out to be documented on film. Perhaps her work merits the attention, though many laypeople will find the three collections seen here underwhelming; it might help to hear from peers or journalists who could explain what makes her documentary-worthy.

Surely it couldn't be as simple as the fact that James Franco, exec-producer of this doc (as he was for Kink), moonlights in Gucci ad campaigns?

Production Company: RabbitBandini Productions

Director-Director of photography: Christina Voros

Producers: James Franco, Miles Levy, Vince Jolivette, Christina Voros

Executive producers: James Franco

Music: Adam James Sherlock

Editor: Filippo Conz

Sales: Dan Braun, Submarine

No rating, 97 minutes