SFIFF58 Review: French Fashion Biopic SAINT LAURENT
15 May, 2015
SAINT LAURENT (2014), which premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, screened at the 2014 New York Film Festival and also recently screened at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival, is a French biopic film directed by Bertrand Bonello starring the very handsome French model and actor Gaspard Ulliel. The picture fictionally depicts the famed life of iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent during the peak of his career–from 1967 to 1976. The audience is granted an inside glimpse into the designer’s life in the midst of his rise in the fashion industry. Further, the story weaves through the romantic loves of his life, Pierre Bergé, played by Jérémie Régnier and Jacques de Bascher, played by Louis Garrel, along with his emotional ups and downs triggered by drug and alcohol induced psychosis. Bonello explains that his piece is a “truly mental” film entering the mindset of Saint Laurent.
We are able to view the way Saint Laurent’s ingenious fashion mind worked as he sketched clothing designs and are brought inside of the design house where his circle sewed. What struck me most about the film was the interesting character played by Ulliel. There is a charming aspect that is brought to the role he plays married with the harsh reality of Saint Laurent’s tragic life. Probably the most alarming party scene was when he and his seedy lover Jacques accidentally spill pills and alcohol on the floor, which are fatally consumed by Saint Laurent’s adored dog. That sad moment is a significant turning point when the viewer grasps the severity of the character’s problems.
With excellent storytelling and performances, Bertrand Bonello and Gaspard Ulliel effectively show us the world of fashion and the life of Saint Laurent in a way that is both charming, entertaining, heartfelt and intriguing.
Top Featured Photo:
Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent
Photo by Carole Bethuel
© 2014 Mandarin Cinema-EuropaCorp-Orange Studio-Arte France Cinema-Scope Pictures, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics