Love, A Complex Affair

BY Lisa Lindblad

May 14, 2011

L’Amour Fou, a moving portrait of Yves Saint Laurent told by his life-long partner, Pierre Berge, is a film of great emotion, enchanting beauty and pitch perfect recollection.  It is the story of many loves.  The first, and achingly present throughout the movie, is the often difficult love affair of nearly 50 years between the two men.  There are others as well – Saint Laurent’s deep love for two women, SL and Berge’s mutual love of the “collection” of extraordinary objects and paintings they amassed over the course of 20 years, their love of ‘place’ – Marrakech, Normandy and the Left Bank – and, of course, Saint Laurent’s genius (do we call it love?) and Berge’s business acumen, in the world of haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion.

This is a difficult film to review because Saint Laurent was such a part of my life.  I see people I know in the shots, recognize the clothes, know the places in which he lived.   It resonates for me in a way it will not for someone else.  I cannot believe, however, that the progression of the film (as in life) of the certainty of love, the fullness of energy and the stunning beauty of youth that upends on the shoals of illness, age, boredom – reality, in fact – does not resonate for those who have lived long.

On its first day of public release here in New York, the theatre was full.  All ages, all nationalities.  Unlike the film on Valentino, The Last Emperor, this courageous portrayal that Berge has offered us is simply intimate.  I would urge you to see it.  It has shifted me.

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Friday Evenings in New York