June 23, 2011

L'amour fou (France 2010)

"L'amour fou" has falsely been marketed as "the Yves Saint Laurent Film". But anyone who expects to learn about the legendary fashion desginer and his craft should look somewhere else because this new documentary is essentially about the relationship between Yves Saint Laurent and the love of his life, Pierre Bergé, as well as their mutual passion for art. Apart from some early - and fascinating - archive footage we do not learn much about the person Yves Saint Laurent and his iconic company.

Instead the film focuses on Pierre Bergé who tells their story from his point of view and whose decision to sell their art collection after Yves Saint Laurent's death in 2008 is the major event at the end of the film. For a film set in the glamourous world of high fashion, the film is shot quite ordinary and not particularly exciting. The documentary has a rather melancholic tone which is due to the fact that Yves Saint Laurent suffered from a life-long depression after his breakthrough success as a designer. It is hinted that its trigger was the tense environment of the fashion industry. As Bergé remarks in a particularly touching moment, he felt truly happy only a few times a year: at the moment when he had just presented his collection and all the pressure was suddenly coming off.

This - apart from the charming personality of Yves Saint Laurent - is the main value from Pierre Thoretton's documentary. It shows that - unlike what many films and TV shows want us to believe - fame and fortune must not always lead to a happy life but can also cause the opposite. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, this is a lesson worthwhile.


Yves Saint Laurent: the tragedy behind the success

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