The French Film Festival screens an array of films, from a biopic about Yves Saint Laurent (L'Amour Fou) to a murder thriller (Crime D'Amour) to the Jean-Luc Godard film Socialisme. There also are a couple of classic films. An American in Paris (1951) starring Gene Kelly is the only film in English, all others are in French and subtitled in English.
L'Amour Fou is about the life of St. Laurent, featuring extensive interviews with his longtime partner Pierre Berge (pictured together). It begins with St. Laurent's death in 2008 and focuses on the auction of their vast art collection. Berge is somber but also very frank about St. Laurent and his outlook and troubles. Just into his 20s, St. Laurent became the successor to Christian Dior's fashion empire before he decided to form his own company with Berge a few years later. The documentary includes an interview in which St. Laurent expresses regrets about not having lived a more carefree younger life. In the mid-1970s, he plunged into drugs and alcohol and indulged in a lifestyle of excess that he didn't escape until 1990. But throughout his life, he suffered a sense of alienation and depression. The intensity surrounding the releases of new collections were the few moments of joy that offered him reprieve. The account of the prolific and highly influential designer and fashion mogul is intriguing, but like his life, the spectacles of his new designs and shows and the excesses of his partying account for the most vibrant and compelling parts.
Other films include Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life about singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Rapt is a dramatization of the 1978 kidnapping of a millionaire playboy and his humiliation at the hands of his captors. In The Names of Love, a young hippie woman sets out to seduce elder conservatives into a new worldview but inadvertently falls in love. Mozart's Sister is about Wolfgang Mozarts' older sister who also was a musical prodigy but constrained by the gender roles of her times. Tickets $9 general admission, $7 New Orleans Film Society members. — Will Coviello
French Film Festival
Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., 891-2787; www.neworleansfilmsociety.org