Saint Laurent

Rated 4.0

Biopics tend to take on the personalities of their subjects, and Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent offers all of the clean, flowing lines of the Algerian-born designer's fashions, while remaining just as mercurial and indulgent as the man. It's a stubbornly oblique, aloofly stylish and oddly compelling film that offers little biographical context or narrative form, instead compiling a Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould-style mix tape of banal and crucial (and crucially banal) moments from Yves Saint Laurent's life, forming a fascinating silhouette of an ultimately unknowable man. Bonello doesn't try to compact his subject's entire life into a three-act narrative, but rather concentrates on a very specific period—the time between 1968 and 1976 when Saint Laurent was at the height of his fame. The film is unique in that it's not a story about an artist's ascent toward triumph, but about his descent from triumph toward irrelevance and oblivion. D.B.