The Shameless Indulgence and Naked Confessional of Yves Saint-Laurent in "L'amour Fou"

L'amour Fou opens with unbroken footage from designer Yves Saint-Laurent's 2002 speech announcing his retirement from fashion, after 40-plus years at the helm of the massively important label bearing his name. It's a stunning performance, flowing from naked confessional ("I have known the false friends of tranquilizers... and emerged dazzled but sober") to shameless indulgence (bragging about his impact on female dress). As a stage-managed but not quite self-aware study in contradictions, the address feels more revealing of Saint-Laurent — a prodigy who took over the House of Dior at 21 and then, with boyfriend/business partner Pierre Berge, built the YSL brand — than anything that follows in Pierre Thoretton's documentary. Fou leads up to the February 2009 auction of the couple's massive art collection, with Berge providing 90 percent of the film's testimony. Berge paints his late ex as a chronically depressed handful, an idiot savant incapable of taking care of himself whose real genius may have consisted of strategically adopting influence and surrounding himself with beautiful things. Not rated.

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