The joy of movie reviews and having minions, I mean writers, Salty Kernels even, is that they all have different taste and are all attracted to different movies. Kernel Andrew is the art house man, the more obscure the better, and thank god he loves Russian films. Kernel Jack is the war guy, John and Alistair are the mainstream commercial guys (although Alistair is discovering arthouse) and Kernel Mitch is all horror. I am the all rounder, but I lean towards non snail pace art house cinema, children’s films and the mainstream (I can pretty much watch anything, except Russian film :)). Kernel Dara is our designer, make the film anything design heavy and she is in, loves the stuff. So when a film called YVES SAINT LAURENT comes along, she is calling me requesting to be the reviewer even before the script is finished :). It also needs to be known that the film YVES SAINT LAURENT has the full support from Pierre Bergé & the YSL Foundation – so this film is as supported and authentic as possible – please take note *cough* GRACE OF MONACO. I present to you Lady D’s review of YVES SAINT LAURENT, it releases Thursday 26th June at most art house cinemas, it is from eOne Australia, is rated M and runs for 100mins. Enjoy………..JK.
REVIEW BY DARA SHASHOU
Here at Salty Popcorn we are lucky enough that Head Kernel allows us to be able to ‘bags’ watching certain films as soon as a trailer comes out. Generally, these are quite specific films commensurate to our interests. Me, I am the fashion nerd/design film ‘expert’ amongst the Salty ranks. Expert is a very loose term, but my enthusiasm sure makes up for any shortfall I have within fashion movie nerd expertise rankings.
Ever since the release of The September Issue and Coco Avant Chanel in 2009 there has been a bevy of fashion related films released for my (sorry, our) viewing pleasure. Every time I see a new trailer for a film about one of the iconic designers I literally jump up and down with glee. I then proceed to message Jason with a beg/plead/bribe so that I may be the reviewer who gets to see this film. Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was no exception, in fact this one was ‘baggsed’ about 6 months ago.
YSL begins at the end of Yves’ (Pierre Ninney) life and through a series of flashbacks and narrations by his partner Pierre Borge (Guillame Galliene) tells the story of a creative genius and his rise within the fashion world. As with most genii the road to success is a rocky one, especially for those closest to them. At age 21 YSL is working for the great couturier Christian Dior, Mr Dior abruptly dies leaving Yves at the helm of his wonderful haute couture based fashion empire. Constricted by working under the ghost of Dior, Yves suffers a breakdown as he struggles with the pressures as well as the creative restrictions imposed upon him.
Yves met his lover and business partner Pierre Berge whilst still at the helm of Dior, and after a breakdown and subsequent firing from Dior, Pierre helped Yves to create his own label. From here, a legend was born. Their love affair lasted a lifetime and was only ended because of Yves’ death in 2008. YSL illustrates how Yves’ was a naturally free spirit and really struggled with the commitments of both his professional and personal lives, he turned to drugs and alcohol to attempt to break free from these constraints. I did appreciate how the director, Jalil Lespert did not gloss over these facts, in fact he really portrayed the highs and lows of Yves’ career and life. And there were many many lows. He also struggled with manic depression and extreme bouts of shyness, and these were not entirely helped by his lifestyle choices.
The real star of the film was the fashion. A lot of the original designs were used from the Saint Laurent foundation, models were sourced who actually fit the clothes so minimal alterations had to be made. For the fashion junkie the highlights for me were the Saint Laurent tuxedos, the Mondrian inspired dresses and of course, the Ballet Russes costumes from 1976. The audience is also treated to scenes being shot in the actual YSL home in Marrakech where Yves and Pierre escaped to when the world became too much.
Visually YSL is an absolutely stunning film. Pierre Ninney, who plays Yves is an incredibly handsome man and portrays Yves’ flaws to perfection. You want to love and hate him all at once. The production level from the sets at the couturier house, to the homes that Yves and Pierre shared, to the nightclubs they frequented are flawless. My only critique would be that the storyline jumped around a lot without a lot of explanation at times.
YSL is a visual feast, with a cracking soundtrack and the scenes where his new collections are premiered are breathtaking. The intensity of the love affair between Yves and Pierre is the real backbone of the story, a love that lasted over 50 years. If you’re a fashion or art lover then YSL is a must see. It’s simply divine.