On the occasion of the DVD release of the film YVES SAINT LAURENT, FNAC des Ternes (Paris), was organized on may 14, 2014, a meeting between the director Jalil Lespert, the actor Pierre Niney and the public. During a forty minutes, we were delivered a few revelations on the biopic of the couturier.
Why make a film about Yves Saint Laurent ?
Jalil Lespert : It is a great French history. People like Yves Saint Laurent are people who fight for their dreams. It was also to analyze all of the consequences, more or less sad following the success of a historical character. Living in the paris region, I live everyday fashion. I also wanted to give a new breath back to a history of franco-French. This man is ambivalent, between this little angel and this public persona fascinated me. I was not aware of its part dark, the appearance of cursed poet, his figure defiant, his love story out of the ordinary with Pierre Bergé and the creation of his empire, I discovered that he was a great artist. I compare it to the poetic figure of Rimbaud, in the charm and fascination of self-destruction.
How did you come up with YSL ?
Pierre Niney : I was attacked by this, which pleased me most, in this case, his voice. I find it very revealing of many things such as its sensitivity and shyness, which is also its great strength. Yves Saint Laurent is the kind of man shy that you are obliged to listen to so you are hypnotized. Jalil pointed me in the direction of various coaches, in particular to the drawings, the dress style, gait and the change of silhouette in the as and of the film. I have had the chance to work with a woman who has worked for fifteen years alongside Yves Saint Laurent, and so was well aware of his trait. I have also dined with Betty Catroux (played by Marie de Villepin), which has allowed me to desacralized the icon because I saw the person who spoke of it as a friend. These people are like characters in novels, they are unique in their kind, their relation to art and the celebration are very different today.
It took me 5-6 months of research to get to know and immerse myself in the character. I have put in the time to come out of the character and I had cut myself off from all social life during the filming in order to have a true immersion. Regarding his appearance in love, we wanted to do with Guillaume Gallienne. His story with Pierre Bergé, the us has truly touched. It was the first time I interpreted a homosexual man.
Jalil Lespert : I didn’t want to enclose the film in a ghetto reserved for fashion fans, I wanted a unique film. I had the same goal as Yves Saint Laurent : Bringing the haute couture on the street and talk to all the women possible. I finished the film by the Russian ballet, as it is his masterpiece.
Have you kept this gift for the drawing ?
Pierre Niney : No, unfortunately, but it has taught me a lot, in the work of proportions. I had to be able to draw the way to the nearest Yves Saint Laurent. Initially, there was a soft hand, but he could not come because of schedule so I was told that I had no choice, I must learn and that I know of to draw to the film.
The movie would it have existed without the foundation Pierre Bergé ?
Jalil Lespert : I needed someone to play a genius. In forty seconds, I told myself that it was him, Pierre Niney, because he had everything : the charisma, the game, perseverance. But nothing could have been done without the foundation Pierre Bergé nor the support of the large family of the YSL. The goal of the film was really to show the work of Saint Laurent. He had to put a lot of parades. I was also told that it was like action scenes but for the girls (laughter). We had the real dresses out of many have disappeared, where the call to the foundation. It was out of the question to use copies. A few times, we have had the honor to shoot in real places , in particular in the studio of YSL.
Have you had feedback from Pierre Bergé ?
Pierre Niney : Pierre Bergé remained far away artistically. He knew that it was not the movie for him nor for his friends. He came one day, the day of the shooting of the final scene, one of the brushes Russian in their places of origin. It is still very discreet. It has the feel of many layers imperceptible memories. I avoided it before shooting this sequence because I didn’t want to face the real character but I know that it has been moved. I sent a message after his discovery of the film for me to say that it was very good. He cried, it was a great emotion for him. To this day, he is the person who has known the more YSL, and really believed to see in the movie even ten seconds, it is already huge.
How do you see the YSL for women ?
Pierre Niney : history is made by women. It started with his disorder for the character of Victoire Doutreleau (played by Charlotte Le Bon). He designed all her dresses for her basically because this woman has had an enormous impact.
I watched a news report on him. For fifteen minutes, the camera was in a fixed plane on him. A lot of people surrounded him, telling him of the upcoming shows. Only, he was present physically, it really felt elsewhere. It was then announced that it was entering a dummy, and there he was awake. This shows how women were the major point of his art.
Jalil Lespert : I’ve had the pleasure of filming women with the look of YSL. The likeness was a criterion of choice in my actresses. The casting is upside down, the actresses became models and not the reverse. One of his older relatives has seen Laura Smet (role : Loulou de la Falaise) and Nikolai Kinski (role : Karl Lagerfeld) and was immediately struck by their resemblance with the original characters. Violetta Sanchez, a model of the mark, has learned how to scroll to the actresses. These women are sublime intelligence.
Are you invited to the fashion shows ?
Jalil Lespert : I don’t think. We went there only for the design of the film, as well as behind-the-scenes.
Pierre Niney : No, we are not fashions addicts, but we wouldn’t throw the stone if we would go. Also, I loved the idea of Jalil is not crazy of fashion, like what the film might have other dimensions.