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When they’re out and about — and they often are — Valentino and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti appear to be totally in sync, united in elegant living and a healthy glow. But behind the scenes, they behave just like any other duo that has been together for nearly five decades, as witnessed by a star-studded audience at the Venice Film Festival premiere of “Valentino: The Last Emperor.”

“Can you believe that after all these years Valentino still doubts Giancarlo at times?” marveled Natalia Vodianova, after watching the documentary, which was directed by Vanity Fair editor Matt Tyrnauer.

This story first appeared in the September 2, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s very true to life,” observed the designer’s close friend Elizabeth Hurley, who also has a cameo.

The film’s subject was surprisingly sanguine about having his personal life on show for all to see. “My favorite parts,” said Valentino, “are when I scream at Giancarlo.”

Nevertheless, both men were in fine and friendly form as they welcomed guests including Eva Herzigova, Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy and Valentino’s successor, Alessandra Facchinetti, to a post-screening dinner, sponsored by Vogue Italia and Vanity Fair Italia. Despite the gorgeous setting for the event, which was held on the terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum overlooking the Grand Canal, it was just a brief respite for the many movie stars who were in Venice to promote their films. Partygoer Charlize Theron was in town for the drama the “The Burning Plain,” while Tilda Swinton was just beginning her red-carpet marathon for the upcoming Coen brothers flick “Burn After Reading.”

Diane Kruger, meanwhile, was even working during cocktail hour. “I just received a call from Quentin Tarantino asking me to be in his next movie,” she said giddily, referring to the director’s upcoming “Inglorious Bastards,” starring Brad Pitt. “I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll play a German movie star,” added the German movie star.

But most guests agreed the de facto award for best on-screen portrayal in the room went to Valentino himself. “What better way to portray your work than to bring cameras into your life,” said Lapo Elkann, who was with his new girlfriend, Bianca Brandolini d’Adda. “It’s even more effective than a reality show.”

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