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L'Amour fou

Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé and the art auction of the century

‘I shall attend our collection’s funeral,’ says Pierre Bergé, an impeccably dressed, elderly Frenchman in the elegant documentary L’Amour fou. He’s speaking of the vast art collection acquired by him and his partner, the legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent. The two shared their lives for half a century, since Saint Laurent was a 22-year-old wunderkind at the fashion house of Christian Dior. After Saint Laurent’s death from cancer in 2008, Bergé made the decision to sell the contents of their art-filled Paris home at auction. ‘The works will fly away like birds, and find some place else to perch,’ he says. (The ‘birds’, which included works by Matisse, Picasso, Mondrian and Degas, would fetch more than €370 million.)

Poster art for L'Amour fouThe film is, in part, the life story of Saint Laurent, with images of his colorful dresses and theatrical runway shows alongside talking-head reminiscences of his professional fall and rise (after being fired from Dior, he opened his own house and eventually became one of the biggest names in high fashion). It also recounts his struggle with depression and addiction, his love for art and beauty, and the story of what’s left behind after his death – both the remarkable collection, and the man who helped him accumulate it. We see Bergé walk through their lavish apartment for the last time. ‘I know all of this will leave tomorrow,’ he says quietly, resigned to his life being forever changed.

Those looking for the wit and verve of recent fashion documentaries like Valentino: The Last Emperor and The September Issue will find something very different here: Director Pierre Thoretton gives the film a stately pace and an elegiac feel. Beautifully filmed, L’Amour fou is often quite moving as it documents the dismantling of a mutual life. As we see the paintings and statues carefully crated for auction, we think of them not just as valuable objects but beautiful things, bought by a couple who wanted to live amid that beauty and whose unexpected success eventually made it possible.

– Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

Trois raisons d'aller voir ce documentaire signé Pierre Thoretton :

1 - C'est une belle histoire. De 1958 à 2008, un demi-siècle d'amour entre le couturier et l'homme d'affaires, avec crises, bruits et fureur.

2 - C'est très instructif. Enrichissant, même. Car il est surtout question de la passion amoureuse du couple pour l'art. Un amour assez communicatif pour que le béotien s'émeuve d'une sculpture de Brancusi ou d'un tableau d'Ensor, entre mille autres merveilles mises en vente aux enchères du siècle, en 2009, et fil rouge de ce documentaire.

3 - C'est bien raconté. Même si la parole n'est pas très objective, le film étant réalisé par un protégé de Pierre Bergé, qui, lui, est quasiment le seul intervenant. Bergé lève néanmoins le voile, de façon élégante et mesurée, sur les travers et traumas du couturier, rappelant que le génie était avant tout humain.

– Christophe Carrière, L'Express


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