Sunday, 14 December 2014

Naked vs. Revealed

Bertrand Bonello's "Saint Laurent" was not at all what I thought it would be. Having seen the trailer I envisioned stunning settings, tasteful drama and a splash of scandal. What I got was a whole lot different.

Maybe I was blinded by appearances - it is hard not to be impressed by how the usually hunky Gaspard Ulliel transformed into weedy Saint Laurent, or by just how bloody handsome Louis Garrel looks with a moustache (who would have thought?).

Louis Garrel as YSL's and Karl Lagerfeld's lover Jacques de Bascher

And being blinded by appearance is exactly what happened to the film. Like Narcissus transfixed with his own image, it somehow forgot to come up with anything resembling substance. For a very long two and a half hours the film rambles on without much of a point of view, jumping from one time period to another, never quite explaining Saint Laurent's central relationships (his love for Pierre Bergé or his lifelong friendships with Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise). The whole thing feels like an interminable trailer, with the characters as deep and relatable as models in a Saint Laurent ad.

And yet, there may be one reason to go and see this film: Ulliel's unabashed semi-hard full frontal. It was the only moment that made my jaw drop, and maybe the only time this film leaves its dull comfort zone and gives you a feel for YSL's daring and desparate private life (and Ulliel's very generous junk). Although I'm sure a decent screen shot will soon leak into the world wide web. In the meantime, I recommend the trailer over the film and Alicia Drake's "Beautiful Fall" for a real insight into the scandal.

A tame gay orgy with Louis Garrel 

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