Saint Laurent (Bertrand Bonello, 2014): France, Belgium

Reviewed by Mina Gilbertsson. Viewed at the AFIFest 2014.

The legendary fashion icon, Yves Saint Laurent, is the subject of not only one but two recent French films. The first one, Yves Saint Laurent, directed by Jalil Lespert was recently released in theaters around the United States. Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent touches the more dramatic side of his life such as blue pills and cocaine.

The film is about Yves most successful years, 1967 through 1976. The only problem was that Pierre Bergé did not give the production of Saint Laurent access to the archives for clothes, which meant that the couture collections were recreated due to copywrite issues. Although we are introduced to Yves Saint Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel) at the pinnacle of his success, he has no problem draining his thoughts and ideas with champagne. People argue that there is more to Saint Laurent than his work, and the film captures that by inherently displaying an insight to his depression along with his unstable mind structure.

The film concentrates more on the passionate affair between Yves Saint Laurent and Jacques de Bascher (Louis Garrel) than the relationship between the designer himself and his long-time lover and business partner Pierre Bergé (Jérémie Renier). Even though the film passed the length of two-hours the brilliant performances from Ulliel and Garrel made it endurable.

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