Saint Laurent - Summer of '21 (Gaspar Noé, 2020, France)

Set against a soundtrack of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", Gasper Noe's film Saint Laurent - Summer of '21 begins with a woman in trouble. A dog barking in the distance sends our main character running through a forest, shrieking along the way. She enters a large mansion in the forest, and we suddenly cut to Charlotte Rampling seated in what appears to be a dressing room, bathed in red against the light o the mirror. Rampling takes a staff and slams it on the floor, then gets up to admire herself in the mirror.

Our protagonist from earlier is now wandering through the ornate and labyrinthine house, encountering various women along the way, and the film transitions into a De Palma-esque split screen. The whole setting of the house is - like the exteriors - bathed in red and yellow. The split screen effect creates a sense of frenzy and disorientation, as some of the women begin to ascend the stairs of the mansion. The hypnotic disco beat that started at the beginning of the film continues, even as we hear the shrill sound of a phone ringing. 


The women then begin walking into an ornate theater, filled with red chairs. We see our protagonist facing the camera head-on in her seat, and then Charlotte Rampling appears on the stage in front of the sparse auditorium on a bed of red flowers. Rampling does a bit of a dance on the stage for the women present. The women applaud and the film concludes. The film makes you almost forget that you are watching a showcase of the Laurent summer collection. Unfortunately, the film does not stand out that much stylistically, as the parallels to De Palma as well as directors like Nicolas Winding Refn are quite strong. Only for completists. 


5/10

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