Miserable Influence: Our Review of ‘Celebration’ (2007)

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 23, 2019
Miserable Influence: Our Review of ‘Celebration’ (2007)

Sometimes things need to stay on the shelf…

While Celebration or Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections does provide a little bit of insight into the last show of a fashion icon and his way of thinking…it’s also kind of a tedious cavalcade of characters who just don’t come off as likeable or compelling, and that applies to Laurent himself.

Writer/Director Olivier Meyrou gives us an intimate, fly on the wall look at designer Yves St Laurent and a look at his process during his last show.  Also while revealing his integral relationship with partner Pierre Bergé, throughout their careers.  Banned after its initial 2007 premiere; it’s a glimpse of an iconic man who was larger life yet incredibly fragile all at the same time.

This is one is a difficult one.  While on one end, you can see how Paul Thomas Anderson may have gotten a glimpse at this as inspiration for Phantom Thread and it is that intimate glimpse into a life of an iconic of fashion.  However on the other end it’s just a bunch of fairly miserable people being kind of shitty to one another with no real person or subject to get behind or invested in throughout the film.

There’s no doubt that being a fly on the wall in the build up for one of the cultural icons of the modern age would be a thrill for anyone with a fashion bent and Meyrou actually does a good job of more or less staying out of the way of everything that is unfolding in front of his eyes and we get a real look at the prep behind one of these shows and a glimpse into the process of a man thanks to some cutaway sit down interview segments.

Sadly the problem for the film is that we actually DO get a glimpse behind the scenes of a fashion show on the grandest stage for the business.  The film uses both Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé as primary subjects and it’s not shocker why Bergé actually blocked the films release until now.  He really comes off as a bit of an overbearing asshole…and so do a lot of people in this movie which makes the 76 min run time a little bit of a slog because while there are some interesting things going on in the film, everyone we see is kind of horrible to each other.

At the end of the day, fashion fans and people involved in that world will undoubtedly find something to pull from Celebration but it ultimately stays a little too fly on the wall to be really engaging on a broader level.

If you want to watch a compelling fashion documentary, find McQueen as it’s a hell of a lot more entertaining than this was.

Celebration is currently playing a limited engagement at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.

  • Release Date: 8/23/2019
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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