Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Shot over two years between 1998 and 2001, just before Yves Saint Laurent retired from the world of fashion, this poignant, intimate film, shaped from a mere 18 hours of footage, captures the great couturier in his twilight, creating his last collection. The subsequent portrait of a physically diminished and jittery figure whose reign was coming to an end dismayed Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent’s partner in business and, for a period, in life. Bergé initially prevented the film’s release, as the behind-the-scenes observation of the apparently adrift, chain-smoking designer – and of puppet master Bergé lurking in the background orchestrating affairs – was not the image that he wanted the world to see.
Although it unmasks the erstwhile fashion icon and, thereby dismantling the myth Bergé strived to create and protect (and for which he jealously sought credit), the film isn’t a salacious exposé, but instead, a fascinating, almost anthropological account of a waning monarch and a label’s celebration of its storied status. — SR
“Meyrou presents Saint Laurent in two different lights, alternating between color and monochromatic film stocks to make his point. In black and white, he attempts to capture the legend, first seen anguishing in extreme closeup over a drawing… Meyrou reserves color for the reality of the situation, focusing on Bergé and the petites mains… who do the actual work of transforming his sketches into beautiful garments…
A priceless addition to our understanding of how Yves Saint Laurent – the man, the myth, la marque – operated.” — Peter Debruge, Variety