Monday, 1 September 2014

Yves Saint Laurent

I went along to the movies this week to see the new Yves Saint Laurent biopic. I didn't know much about it, apart from the fact that YSL was French- well Algerian as it turns out, and obviously a famous designer- even though I am barely aware of fashion I still knew a little of YSL.

Told by his partner and business partner, Pierre Bergé, reminiscing after YSL's death in 2008, the movie is then a somewhat linear narrative- from YSL's early days with Dior, his disastrous conscription to military service, and setting up his own fashion house.

We see his beautiful, elegant classic designs of the 1950s and 60s, his groundbreaking Mondrian collection of 1971, and even YSL had questionable taste in the early 70s after that.

YSL Mondrian dress on display at the
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2013
It was interesting to see how formally collections were presented in the 50s and 60s and how this (d)evolved in the 1970s. YSL is not depicted as a nice man, and I was left with little empathy for him. Actually both Yves and Pierre act deplorably at times, and we weren't really shown why. Paris of course featured quite a bit with much of the movie action happening there. Paris hasn't changed all that much since 1850 so you can easily dress up the characters, change the cars and suddenly it is the 1950s. There are more than enough Paris streetscapes to keep the Paris voyeur happy- YSLs apartment has views over the Arc de Triomphe. And it is all beautifully lit and filmed. 

The first 10 minutes or so before the titles had bizarre subtitling, with about one sentence in 5 subtitled in English. My rusty French was struggling to keep up. Thankfully it improved after the opening credits, and most of it then seemed to be subtitled, but the subtitles were way too low, and it was hard to read them and watch the actual movie at the same time.

Sadly I was very tired this day and when I fell asleep (as I often do at the movies) it was 1976, and I woke only in the last 30 seconds or so. I'm not sure how much I missed...

Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita at An Accidental Blog


Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

I definitely want to see this. Thanks for the least for the part you were awake ;0)

Paulita said...

Louise, Your review made me laugh. I can see falling asleep if the French is difficult and the story isn't engaging. I'm not sure about this one. Thanks for playing along.

grammajudyb said...

I sure I won't have the opportunity to see this movie. I have never seen a subtitled foreign film shown in the one and only theater in our town. It is an 8-plex, but only mainstream movies get shown. Thanks for the insight though.

Brona said...

I love that you fall asleep at the movies!
As much as I'd love gratutious shots of Paris, I prefer Chanel biopics. She could be very unpleasant it a fashion world thing? or a French thing I wonder?

Sim Carter said...

Your review made me laugh as well; I find myself nodding off at the movies sometimes too. At home I dare not watch anything after 9pm or so at night.
Do you get The Knick in Australia? I've watched the first episode three times and I keep missing chunks of it as I keep falling asleep.
I don't know why as I love Clive Owens as the turn of the century surgeon but it's quite graphic. The conscious part of me finds it really compelling but I wonder if my unconscious self is trying to escape all that blood and guts???
Maybe your unconscious finds the fashion just as troubling. LOL.
Enjoy the ZZZs!