Because the world can’t get enough of Yves Saint Laurent, a new documentary by Pierre Thoretton has just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. L’Amour Fou recounts the love story between Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, a glamourous tale of infatuation (and sometimes torment) beginning in 1958 and culminating in a French civil partnership shortly before the designer’s passing in 2008.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Bergé is essentially the only person interviewed (by Thomas Doustaly, the former editor of the Bergé-owned, gay French magazine Têtu). As a result, the film is a highly romanticized and sanitized account of their life together. The philandering intrigues suggested in The Beautiful Fall, Alicia Drake’s infamous book, are all but avoided. Still, Bergé mentions a night in 1976 when Saint Laurent arrived at their Paris home, only to go back out with a group of guys awaiting him outside. This led to Bergé leaving their luxurious apartment and spending a month in a suite at the Plaza Athénée.
Saint Laurent’s bouts with depression, alcohol and drugs are also touched upon, mostly by Betty Catroux, his companion and confidante. But the designer’s humorous side is also revealed. In one interview, he was asked what his idea of happiness is. “A crowded bed,” he replied. How would you like to die? “In my bed, crowded,” he said with his puckish grin.
L’Amour Fou is punctuated throughout with scenes of the couple’s astounding art collection being removed from their home last year and the hysteria it caused at auction. These images accurately convey what the documentary is really about: a bereft man looking back at an extraordinary life. In French cinemas September 22.