L’Amour Fou | Film review
An elliptical doc explores YSL’s art and longtime relationship.
Subtle tensions underscore this elegiac documentary about the late couturier Yves Saint Laurent: oppositions between high and low art, public and private spheres, Right Bank and Rive Gauche. Principally narrated by surviving business partner and lover Pierre Bergé, the film glances over many key events in their long union—their initial meeting during the heady success of 21-year-old Yves’s first collection for the House of Dior in 1958; the launch of Saint Laurent’s own fashion line in 1962; the expansion into ready-to-wear in 1966—ground largely covered in two 2002 documentaries by director David Teboul. Thoretton’s work is more elliptical, returning again and again, in Proustian mode, to the couple’s voluptuously appointed homes in Paris, Marrakech and Normandy to linger before an exceptional art collection that took 20 years to amass.
From an African sculpture of a bird to a bronze by Brancusi, to paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Warhol, the collection reflected the couple’s tastes and travels, influenced the designer’s work and soothed him during bouts of depression and addiction. The great love of his life now gone, Bergé oversees, without sentimentality, the mammoth auction of these objets d’art at Christie’s in London. His final gaze into the camera recalls the gravitas of a Rembrandt self-portrait, facing the void clear-eyed.