Designer Yves Saint Laurent and businessman Pierre Bergé were partners for half a century, lovers for less than half that. Together, they created the powerhouse YSL house. Saint Laurent retired in 2002.
“L’Amour Fou” is Bergé’s farewell to his longtime partner. You’d think a biopic with this title would have some passion, craziness or at least spark. But “L’Amour Fou” is surprisingly tepid about everything, to the point of being a little boring.
His life was anything but dull. Saint Laurent was a wunderkind, who began working at Dior at 18 and took over that house three years later.
In 1958 he met Bergé, who became his lover and business partner. In 1961, they opened their own house – Saint Laurent the creative force; Bergé the business genius.
They apparently lived large, these two, with houses in Marrakech (where Saint Laurent is buried) and Normandy (where he went to escape the public eye) and an eye-popping art collection – apparently acquired almost willy-nilly – which Bergé auctioned recently.
There are many long, sweeping shots both of the pair’s houses and their art. Beautiful, to be sure, and there must be a story about each acquisition, but we only hear about the first two. For the rest, we merely tour of the house.
Bergé mentions several important personal details almost in passing. For instance, he says that one night in 1976, Saint Laurent didn’t come home. This is apparently code for “he moved out,” because that is what happened, either then or shortly thereafter.
Saint Laurent was almost pathologically shy and depressed (Bergé sometimes said he had been born with a nervous breakdown), and in the late 70s he spiraled into alcoholism and drug addiction, about which we hear very little here.
The more I think about this film, the more annoyed I become. There is a story to be told about the man who gave us “le smoking” tuxedo jackets, see-through blouses, bolero jackets and pantsuits.
Unfortunately, Bergé has not told it. It’s a pity that director Pierre Thoretton has allowed it.
The film opens Friday, May 27, at the Landmark Ken Cinema in Kensington.
To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.