The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bonello's unauthorized movie "Saint Laurent" tells dark tale of designer Yves Saint Laurent

  • Print

CANNES, France - His surviving gay lover Pierre Berge didn't want this film to see the light of day.

But on Saturday, the controversial, no-holds-barred story of one of the 20th-century's greatest fashion designers, Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, screened in competition at Cannes.

The two-and-a-half hour feature examines how the late, great couturier's life was torn apart by casual sex and drugs and depicts his charged erotic relationship with a third man, Jacques de Bascher, who died of AIDS in 1983.

It's little wonder the movie ruffled 83-year-old Berge's feathers.

Director Bertrand Bonello's "Saint Laurent" is a dark and sexually explicit movie, featuring Gaspard Ulliel, who lost weight and bared all to play the title role, and Louis Garrel in the role of Jacques.

It's the second feature film on the legendary designer with the dark rimmed spectacles in less than six months. Unlike the first authorized film by Jalil Lespert, the Bonello project was publicly opposed Saint Laurent's surviving life and business partner, Berge.

Scenes of full nudity, drug use and references to hard gay sexual practices litter the film, spliced with contrasting scenes of the precision of the fashion atelier.

The producer says the film was made not to attack Berge but to represent the truth behind the softly-spoken creator of the "Le Smoking," who remains one of fashion world's most enigmatic figures.

"This film was never intended to be against him (Berge)," said the film producer Eric Altmayer. "Our ambition since the beginning was to make a film simply on Saint Laurent. The fact there was this second film liberated us from the constraints of a traditional biopic, to go deeper into the truth."

Almost peripheral in the movie are references to Saint Laurent's artistic impact as one of the most mould-breaking designers of the 20th century, a man who irreversibly liberated women's fashion during the 1960s sexual revolution.

Instead the designer is seen near death, frail, undignified and ravaged by pill abuse.

In one of the strongest scenes, his beloved French Bulldog, Moujik, dies after munching though the myriad pills that have been scattered on the designer's floor as he passes out.

The director was refused rights to use YSL clothing in the filming. But during the press conference, the producer said being shunned by the establishment can spur creativity.

"We had access to nothing, nothing at all not even a shirt, so everything you see in the film was recreated," said Altmayer. "Fantastic work was done."

___

Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Humans of the Holidays

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Water lilys are reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that former cabinet minister Theresa Oswald has entered the NDP leadership race, do you believe the "gang of five" rebel ministers were right to publicly criticize Premier Greg Selinger's leadership?

View Results

Ads by Google