Film Nights at The Witham


Yves Saint Laurent by Jalil Lespert (15)
17, 24, 31 July, 7, 14, 21, 28 August, 7.30, £5.00 per ticket, 106 minutes
Set in Paris in 1957, 21 year old Yves is catapulted to international stardom as the successor to the recently deceased, Christian Dior. At his first catwalk show he meets Pierre Bergé, who will become his lover and business partner, and begins a relationship that will change his life forever. Just a few years later, however, he's subjected to the public humiliation of being fired. Refusing to succumb to his critics and self-doubt, he creates the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house and presents the first ever 'ready to wear' collection, shocking the world of couture.

YVES SAINT LAURENT follows the designer as he attempts to democratise fashion against the backdrop of Sixties' liberation, battling his personal demons to build an empire that would be renowned for liberating women all over the world.

Directed by Jalil Lespert, starring Guillaume Galienne as Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Niney as Pierre Bergé, Charlotte le Bon as Victoire Doutreleau, Laura Smet as Loulou de la Falaise, Marie de Villepin as Betty Catroux and Nikolai Kinski as Karl Largerfeld, this all star cast presents a moving and insightful biopic of the hugely talented fashioner designer.

Yves Saint Laurent, 1964 © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent / Maurice Hogenboom


Belle de jour by Luis Bunuel (18)
6 August, 7.30, £5.00 per ticket, 101 mins
Séverine, played by the beautiful legendary actress Catherine Deneuve, and Pierre are a young relatively newly married Parisienne couple in a comfortable upper middle class life. They are outwardly in a loving, happy marriage, which belies the fact that she more often than not rejects his romantic and sexual advances in the bedroom. He tolerates her rejections in his love for her. Although she tells him of the benign situations of her many dreams, she doesn't tell him of the details, which always include him controlling and humiliating her in some form of sexual dominance. She does not know why she rejects him sexually, or why she has such dreams. She learns from various sources that one of her distant married friends, a woman by the name of Henrietta, works as a prostitute in a high end brothel, which she didn't know even existed. Although initially uncomfortable with both the thought and the actual actions of having sex with strange men for money, Séverine is nonetheless drawn to work in such an establishment. In doing so, Séverine may be able to exorcise some demons in her life, but perhaps not at others' expense in the process.

Chosen by Pierre Bergé as one of Yves Saint Laurent’s favourite films, Deneuve was dressed by Yves for the film.

L’Amour fou by Pierre Thoretton (PG) 
13 August, 7.30, £5.00 per ticket, 98 mins
In 1957, the young French-Algerian couturier Yves Saint Laurent met and fell in love with the industrialist and patron Pierre Bergé, forging a relationship that would endure fifty years of extraordinary success, emotional turbulence and lingering devotion.

In 2008, following the death of Saint Laurent, Bergé decided to auction off the art collection that was the result of their decades-spanning union, spread across three lavish homes, inside which both men exercised a mutual passion for beauty — in objects, places, people, and, above all, through their personal and professional union.

From art deco vases and African sculptures to singular pieces by Brancusi, Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse and Braque, the collection that symbolised this couple’s ceaseless devotion to beauty is at once catalogued, crated up and auctioned off by Christie’s in London, while Bergé reflects and ruminates upon the collection that came together slowly, almost by chance — and the romance that was love at first sight from the moment the duo met at Christian Dior’s funeral in 1957.

How does one walk away from so much beauty cultivated over time? Is such a thing possible? Do we shape the things that surround us, or do those things shape us?

With a Proustian flair for memory and sensation that dovetails remarkably with Saint Laurent’s lifelong romantic sensibility, L’AMOUR FOU documents Bergé’s personal coming to terms with the death of his lifelong partner through the objects they shared in life.

Le Guépard by Luchino Visconti (U)
20 August, 7.30, £5.00 per ticket, 187 mins
In the 1860s, a dying aristocracy struggles to maintain itself against a harsh Sicilian landscape. The film traces, with a slow and deliberate rhythm, the waning of the noble home of Fabrizio Corbero, Prince of Salina (the Leopard) and the corresponding rise to eminence of the enormously wealthy ex-peasant Don Calogero Sedara. The prince himself refuses to take active steps to halt the decline of his personal fortunes or to help build a new Sicily but his nephew Tancredi, Prince of Falconeri swims with the tide and assures his own position by marrying Don Calogero's beautiful daughter Angelica. The climatic scene is the sumptuous forty-minute ball, where Tancredi introduces Angelica to society.

Chosen by Pierre Bergé as one of Yves Saint Laurent’s favourite films.

Les dames du bois de Boulogne by Robert Bresson (PG)
27 August, 7.30, £5.00 per ticket, 86 mins
A 1945 film in which María Casares plays socialite Helene who is shocked when her lover, Jean (Paul Bernard), says he wants to end their relationship. Helene conceals her anguish and callously begins plotting revenge. She then meets the beautiful Agnes (Elina Labourdette), an ex-prostitute, and decides to introduce her to Jean. As he and Agnes fall in love, Helene dutifully conceals the young woman's dark secrets - that is, until Jean marries Agnes, and Helene coldly decides to break the news.

Chosen by Pierre Bergé as one of Yves Saint Laurent’s favourite films.