L'Amour Fou: movie review

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Documentary about the French couturier Yves Saint Laurent, 'L'Amour Fou' is ultimately more about his companion of 50 years, Pierre Bergé.

The French couturier Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008 at the age of 71, is the subject of Pierre Thoretton's documentary “L’Amour Fou,” an oddly discursive documentary that is, ultimately, more about Pierre Bergé, his companion and business partner of 50 years. The two met in 1957 at the funeral of Christian Dior, with whom Saint Laurent began his legendary ascent.

Bergé adulates Saint Laurent’s gifts but is reticent about underscoring his professional accomplishments, such as his championing of ready-to-wear fashion or his revolutionary use of ethnic female models on the runway. He is more forthcoming about Saint Laurent’s bouts of severe depression and drug addiction, but never in an exploitative way.

Saint Laurent himself barely emerges in this film except as a cipher – a nowhere man with three lavish hideaways, in Paris, Normandy, and Morocco, all stocked with extraordinary artwork. For Bergé, the auctioning of these works, a process we observe in overlong detail, represents a kind of leave-taking.

It would have been useful if the film had pointed up the fact that much of the proceeds from these auctions went to fund AIDS research. Grade: B- (Unrated.)

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