Yves Saint Laurent
Dir: Jalil Lespert
Jalil Lespert's lavish biopic of the legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent is suitably chic and dripping in style but it isn't quite what I expected. There is something rather formulaic about the structure but I would argue that the classic biopic formula actually works most of the time and shouldn't be altered just for the sake of it. That said, Yves Saint Laurent is ever so slightly different as we are told the designer's story through his long term business partner and love of his life Pierre Bergé. While many of the designer’s famous exploits and scandals are only touched upon, his relationship behind the public facade is explored in great detail. His life story could easily be a two hour mini-series, the launch of just one of his infamous collections could form the basis of a three hour long film on its own (with the right director - Jalil Lespert for one) but here it is what really makes the man, what makes any man, the passion, the drive and the love. There is much about Yves Saint Laurent I didn't know and much about him I didn't realize would interest me and I found the film fascinating from start to finish. When I think of the brand I personally think of young chancers, out on the town of a Saturday night, boys in Yves Saint Laurent polo shirts (pink, with the collar always up) and half-dressed (and half-cut) young girls with fake brown YSL handbags they got from a market stall but there is clearly more to it than that. The panache is clearly still there, but although the company developed the off the peg concept, the clothes are still largely overpriced and mass produced and will probably never reach the same levels of decadence and sophistication of the 60s and 70s. I still clearly don't know much about fashion but after watching I have a better idea of how and what has made it evolve over the years. Pierre Niney is perfect in his portrayal of Yves Saint Laurent and Guillaume Gallienne almost steals the show away from him as Pierre Bergé. The supporting cast are all brilliant and I particularly liked Nikolai Kinski's performance of a young Karl Lagerfeld, I'd love to know what he thought of it. The direction, costumes and set pieces are stunning, every frame is perfectly framed and beautifully lit and it is pretty much the most perfectly constructed biopic I've seen for a long while.