L’Amour Fou — the French documentary about the decades-long relationship between the late Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé — opens in theaters in the United States on Friday, but in the meantime, Bergé sat down with the New York Times to talk about the film and what it revealed about their tumultuous relationship and Saint Laurent’s troubles with depression.
“He was a manic-depressive, absolutely,” Mr. Bergé said. “He was manic-depressive, exactly what the word means, manic and depressive. This means periods when he did every sort of thing crazy with happiness, and then the next day, it was blackness. It was depression that drove him towards alcoholism, and afterwards a little towards drugs. Voilà.”
He described his personal feelings of helplessness as he tried to keep Saint Laurent stable, focused and creative. Switching back and forth from French to English, mixing both languages in the same sentence, he said: “When you have a relationship with an alcoholic, a drug user, you are forced to have very difficult relations. What can we do? Nothing. Just to accept the fact. To try to help, yes, which I did, with not many successes. But I did it.”
Bergé says that not even his success at design could help him. “Even with a wonderful collection, he was a very, very unhappy, unhappy guy,” Bergé told the paper. “More than that. More than unhappy. Really. I just tried to help him from time to time. I never complained. Never. It’s an illness, nothing else. It is just an illness.”
The trailer for the film is below: