Hometown: Noyon, France
Why He’s On Our Radar: He directed the moving Yves Saint Laurent tribute “L’amour fou,” which premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and is currently playing in the Spotlight section at the Tribeca Film Festival. Thoretton documents the 52-year relationship between Laurent and his business/life partner Pierre Bergé, by interviewing Bergé as he decides to auction off their joint art collection following Laurent’s death. The film hits theaters courtesy of IFC Films on May 13.
More About Him: “L’amour fou” marks Thoretton’s first documentary and second feature. He’s best known as an accomplished video artist, photographer, sculptor and painter. He has a child with Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni.
What’s Next: Thoretton will make a return to narrative filmmaking. “I’m in the final stage of the script,” he says. “We should start shooting in February. It’s a love story.”
indieWIRE Asks: You revealed following a screening in Tribeca that the film was originally conceived as a film about Laurent and Bergé’s homes and art collection. Why did you do away with that approach in favor of a love story?
The film about the home and collection was interesting from an ethnological point of view. But aside from the beauty of the objects it was also incredibly boring.
What made you switch gears?
I was looking at the rushes. We had about two months of footage from the houses and collection. What made me change course was that when I started talking to the people that had sold the art to them, the only thing they would focus on was the relationship between Pierre and Yves.
How did Pierre react when you told him you wanted to take a more personal approach to the material?
It took him about 10 days to think it over before he said yes. Really, what he was doing had to do with 52 years of living with someone. And he’s not somebody who does things lightly. So he needed to let the answer macerate inside before he could agree to do it.
When did you initially reach out to him?
I had an artistic venture that I was interested in producing and a financier had dropped me. So I went to ask him for help and he gave it to me. From the instant that I met Pierre, we would meet once a week. We really had a dialogue that lasted 10 years before we started to shoot.
Were you at all apprehensive about tackling such popular subject matter in your first documentary?
All my life I’ve had apprehensions, so I really couldn’t measure whether this one was greater than the other ones I’ve had.
You were present with Pierre during the entire process, from when he decided to auction off the items to the end of the said event. What was it like following him on this journey?
First of all, it’s extremely impressive to see someone do something like that. Because once the estimates and appraisals are finished, a house will be emptied in the course of two days. You see the trucks arriving, the boxes arriving, and all of a sudden the house is empty and all you see are electrical wires popping out of the walls. You realize 52 years of life is really nothing.
What it showed me is that the most important thing in life is memories, not the objects that surround us.