Tuesday, March 31, 2015

St. Laurent: the Movie starring Gaspard Ulliel


The second French biopic about the iconic fashion designer in less than six months stars Lea Seydoux, Louis Garrel, Jeremie Renier and "Hannibal Rising's" Gaspard Ulliel in the title role.       

CANNES – The time period covered and the title may be shorter than Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent from five months ago, but French director Bertrand Bonello’s stab at a YSL biopic, simply titled Saint Laurent, runs a whopping 47 minutes longer, though to no apparent benefit.

YSL: the Movie, the Story continues...

Yves Saint Laurent Movie Poster
Yves Saint Laurent, the man, was a towering figure in the fashion world—a visionary haute couture designer who challenged traditional notions of feminine beauty and power.
“Yves Saint Laurent,” the movie, isn’t nearly so innovative or forward thinking. It’s a tasteful and formulaic biopic, visually lush but emotionally shallow.
Director and co-writer Jalil Lespert traces Saint Laurent’s life and work from the late 1950s in Paris, when the designer took over as artistic director of the legendary House of Dior at age 21, to the late 1970s, when his health was beginning to wane following decades of mental illness and substance abuse.

With his lanky frame and those trademark spectacles, Pierre Niney bears a striking resemblance to the designer and he does a solid job of inhabiting a legendary figure through various states in his life and looks over the decades. We see him fall in and out of love, assert his voice through an array of influential looks, attend coke-fueled orgies and rage against anyone who dares to second guess him or hold him back.
If you didn’t know anything about this major creative force, this is at least a decent introduction. But it doesn’t dig very deep to reveal what inspired and drove him. The drugs? The men? The adulation? As is so often the case in depicting the life of a famous, tortured artist, “Yves Saint Laurent” shows us the emotional highs and lows and the self-destructive ways in which Saint Laurent sought balance and control. But the complex soul at the film’s center—a prim and shy enfant terrible—remains elusive.
Plenty of people tell us what a genius Saint Laurent was—namely, his longtime lover and business partner, Pierre Berge (Guillaume Gallienne), who is saddled with the task of explaining everything to us in voiceover. In an unnecessary and unenlightening framing device, Berge speaks directly to the late Saint Laurent as the couple’s extensive art collection is being boxed up for auction. What he’s saying adds nothing to what we’re already seeing on the screen, and Lespert uses it so inconsistently that it doesn’t even register as a poignant source of longing and sorrow.
The vast majority of the script, which Lespert wrote with Marie-Pierre Huster and Jacques Fieschi, takes place in flashback—from Saint Laurent’s early sketches as a radiant 19-year-old growing up in Algiers to a 1976 fashion show where he can barely stand up, much less receive applause on the catwalk.
Through it all, Berge is at his side, both promoting and protecting him. An arts patron, he’s instantly attracted to Saint Laurent personally and professionally. Their early days are affectionate, playful, even a little animalistic; the matter-of-fact physicality they share is refreshing to see, even in an art-house movie.
But an assortment of people—male and female—threatens to come between them and drag Saint Laurent away from his purpose. Among them are muses Loulou de la Falaise (Laura Smet) and Betty Catroux (Marie de Villepin), as well as Saint Laurent’s friend and competitor Karl Lagerfeld (Nikolai Kinski), but it’s hard to tell what impact any of these people had on his actual work. They’re hangers-on more than anything else. Niney does enjoy some sassy, flirty interludes (as well as one explosive confrontation) with Charlotte Le Bon as the model/muse of Saint Laurent’s younger days.
And the costume design—a combination of original pieces on loan from Saint Laurent and Berge’s foundation and period reproductions from Madeline Fontaine—is as chic, elegant and luxurious and you’d hope. We see the bold tuxedos for women and the Mondrian-inspired color block dress. In one memorable, early moment, Saint Laurent takes a basic black cocktail dress and makes it something daring and original with just the addition of a white sash and bow arranged prominently at the front. The greatness is on display, but only in glimmers.

Yves St. Laurent vs. St. Laurent: 2 Films!

Yves Saint Laurent vs. Saint Laurent: Comparing Both of This Year's Biopics on the French Designer

Just because there are two movies about Yves Saint Laurent coming to theaters this year doesn't mean they're anything alike.

Two major motion pictures about celebrated designer Yves Saint Laurent are coming to theaters this year. And based on what we know so far, the two movies are dramatically different.
                 One of the films was released in the UK just last week and will be in American theaters this June. The other doesn't even have a trailer yet—or at least not one we can find on the Internet—and won't debut until October. Other differences abound; we've analyzed them here.
The Lover's Approval
One of the biggest distinctions between the two films is the approval and cooperation of Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent's former lover and business partner. He worked enthusiastically with Jalil Lespert, who directed the YSL biopic that has already debuted. It's simply titled Yves Saint Laurent. In fact, Bergé said the film's star, Pierre Niney, blew him away with his performance.
"It really disconcerted me, it even upset me, because it's very difficult," Bergé told WWD. "At times, I thought it was Yves Saint Laurent himself. That's huge." Take a look at Niney's performance below.

Bergé has declined to cooperate with director Bertrand Bonello, who's behind 2014's other YSL biopic, Saint Laurent. Bergé has said he won't try to stop the movie from being produced, but has said that if the movie doesn't use Saint Laurent's original sketches and designs, he reserves "the right to take action."

But Kering, the French fashion conglomerate that now owns Saint Laurent, is backing Bonello's movie, and will undoubtedly grant him access to the brand's archives.
Both actors Pierre Niney and Gaspard Ulliel look like Yves Saint Laurent—they're tall, slender, dark-haired men with strong noses and fair complexions. Niney, who trained at the Comedie Française, isn't all that well known outside of France. Ulliel, however, has a somewhat international presence. He played a young Hannibal Lecter in 2007's Hannibal Rising, and he's currently the face of the fragrance Bleu de Chanel.

The Story
Yves Saint Laurent focuses on the beginning of the designer's career in the late 1950s, when he worked for master couturier Christian Dior. The movie sees him taking over Dior's house, and eventually partnering with Bergé to start his own business. The designer is, by most accounts, portrayed as a troubled genius who struggles with depression and drug addiction.
The plot of Saint Laurent, on the other hand, isn't as clear—although one French film site claims it will focus on the designer's life from 1965 to 1976, an interesting period for the young designer. In 1966, he launched his ready-to-wear label, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, becoming one of the first couturiers to launch into to RTW.
Of course, we can't judge either film until we see them for ourselves. Yves Saint Laurent debuts in 2015 here in the United States, and Saint Laurent have premiered in France on October 1,2014—just in time for Paris Fashion Week.

.It looks like 2015 is going to be Yves Saint Laurent‘s turn to be immortalized on the big screen. There will be two films coming out about the life of this iconic French designer who died in 2008, despite one facing criticism from the late designer’s close companion and business partner, Pierre Bergé. The businessman – who was co-founder of the iconic house – has said that he wants to try to “ban” production of the second movie.
YSL & Pierre Bergé
 Bergé took to Twitter to share his frustration, saying: 
“Two films on YSL? I hold the moral rights in the work 
of YSL’s image and mine have authorised that of Jalil Lespert” –
 in reference to his favoured film’s director. 
He then hinted that a trial may be in the near future. Bergé is the head of the Pierre Bergé-Saint Laurent Foundation – created to “prolong the history of the House of Saint Laurent”, while conserving a collection of 20,000 haute couture designs, accessories and sketches “that bear witness to 40 years of Yves Saint Laurent’s creativity”.
Both rival biopics currently have the working title of Yves Saint Laurent.

The first  film

YSL movie poster
Pictures of this movie...The first film- which has the backing of Bergé – is to be  directed by Jalil Lespert and will star French actor Pierre Niney as the late designer. Bergé has previously commented on the strong resemblance Niney has to his former companion, revealing that he almost greeted him: “Welcome Yves”.
YSL movie
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Yves Saint Laurent opens in the early Spring...
It looks every dramatic, a bit over the top and every bit as glamorous as you’d expect.
Director Jalil Lespert, starts the film in 1957 as 21 year-old Saint Laurent (played by Pierre Niney, Nikolai Kinski as Karl Lagerfeld and Guillaume Gallienne as Pierre Berge. )
 takes over the couture house of Dior. He is bombarded with questions from reporters but appears calm and collected. Alas, this does not last. Young Saint Laurent tears a white table-cloth dramatically, to make a sash with a bow for a glamorous client. He is temperamental: “I don’t fear critics” he proclaims. He is a diva who just wants to be alone:  “Let me sketch in peace!” he yells.
My review:
You already  have to know a lot about Yves Saint Laurent and his friends to understand the story, otherwise you have no clue who is who and what all happens. Like the reason YSL and Karl Lagerfeld broke up as friends: YSL started a love-affair with Lagerfeld’s lover Jacques de Bascher. The movie also says a lot about Pierre Berge, who lived in the shadow of YSL and obviously had a hard time living & working with him.
The movie reveals details about YSL’s life, only Pierre Berge knew about and probably felt the need to share with the world. I don’t know what these revelations add to the legacy of YSL. It feels like Berge is still frustrated about certain events and the fact YSL couldn’t function without him and is now seeking recognition for his part in the history of YSL.
Still a nice movie to go to and see……

.The second film 
The second film- supported by Pinault – will be directed by Bertrand Bonello, with  Chanel model Gaspard Ulliel cast as the leading role opposite actress Lea Seydoux.
According to The Telegraph, Bonello’s team wrote to Bergé explaining that they had not sought his blessing because they wanted true “freedom of expression”. It’s believed that the businessman’s lawyers responded immediately denying any use of his image or Saint Laurent possessions.
YSL movie poster

Movie poster of Saint Laurent film which Pierre Bergé is trying to "ban"

Gaspar Ulliel who plays Yves Saint Laurent in the second film
Bergé’s role, even when Saint Laurent was alive, has been: ‘I tell the story,'” said scriptwriter Thomas Bidegain, who is working on the Bonello film. “Saint Laurent had a very complicated life and Bergé always managed the legend. That’s why he couldn’t take being dispossessed of that story.”
The French release of this movie is set for Late Spring 2015!
Both productions are expected to focus on the early life of the designer and his relationship with Bergé.
In 1971, the same year that his radical ” 1940s” collection shocked animal activists 
and fashion critics, Yves Saint Laurent released his first perfume for 
men, Pour Homme. 

For its advertisements, Yves Saint Laurent posed in nude in front of the camera of a close friend, Jean Loup Sieff. Sieff who worked for Magnum and was at the apex of his fashion photography career when he took fourteen photos for Yves Saint Laurent. The photo brashly challenged conventional taboos of male nudity in mainstream advertising of the era.

YSL and Sieff rejected the conventional machismo virility that was usually used in the ads on that time, such as Old Spice (introduced in 1937) and Aramis (introduced in 1964).
It was a ‘natural’ appearance after the excesses of 1960s youthquake ostentation and fantasy. Although YSL personally wished the photo become an icon of gay liberation, he looked almost a Christ-like figure, a wavy-haired and gaunt and stark naked but for his large-rimmed glasses. The photos desexualized nudity, and presented a more vulnerable, and androgynous side of humanity.