(director/writer: Pierre Thoretton; screenwriter: Eve Guillou; cinematographer: Léo Hinstin; editor: Dominique Auvray; music: Côme Aguilar; cast: Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé; Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Kristina Larsen/Hugues Charbonneau; Sundance Selects; 2010-France-in French with English subtitles)

I’m afraid I learned more about Yves’s companion and business partner of 50 years Pierre Bergé than I did about the iconic fashion designer.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The debut directorial effort by Pierre Thoretton is iffy, but well photographed and filled with glam. The doc is unable to provide important details on its subject, such as revealing what are Yves Saint Laurent’s inner demons instead of guarding these secrets by oddly tracing in a detached way the enormous success of the superstar rock-like French couturier without telling us much about his thoughts or life except that he always suffered from depression, was a jet-setter and had a substance abuse problem from 1975 until the early 1990s when he kicked the habit by getting treatment and abstaining from drugs.

The Proust-loving aesthetic hedonist died in 2008 at the age of 71, and was buried in Marrakech. Why he chose to be buried there is never revealed. The film ends with Yves’ priceless art collection sold at a 2009 Christie’s auction for $483.8 million to raise money for AIDS research.The film is narrated by Pierre Bergé, the controlling force behind the Laurent empire and the comforting lover who kept his talented fragile partner from going over the edge due to his weaknesses and the business going full blast ahead through thick and thin.

I’m afraid I learned more about Yves’s companion and business partner of 50 years Pierre Bergé than I did about the iconic fashion designer, who had such a great influence on 20th century fashions but here rarely shows his face except as a mystery man who found fame and wealth at an early age and is shown living as a smug bourgeois in his luxury apartment in Paris, his hipster old city home in exotic Marrakech and his escapist rich man home in the farm country of Normandy. It tells of the shy, soft-spoken, bespectacled Yves at 18 being an assistant to Christian Dior. At Dior’s funeral in 1957, Yves meets Pierre and it’s love at first sight. In 1958 at 21, Yves is appointed Dior’s successor and for several years turns in winning collections working for the renown fashion house Dior founded. During the Algerian War, in 1962, a controversy over his not being called to active duty resulted in Yves’ split from the House of Dior and then an American investor enabled him to have his own house of fashion–with boyfriend Pierre helping to build the world-wide YSL brand to make him arguably the world’s most famous courtier. In 2002 Yves gives a portentous retirement speech over his seemingly empty and melancholy pampered arty life, even quoting Rimbaud, after 40-plus years of providing creativity under his label for those who care about haute courture–which doesn’t include me.