Gainsbourg (image 1)

A wildly creative take on the life of notorious French composer, lyricist and provocateur Serge Gainsbourg.

Lisa Nesselson, Screendaily

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Gainsbourg 2009

Gainsbourg (vie héroïque)

Directed by Joann Sfar

A quintessential French icon gets his big-screen bio. Sixties singer Serge Gainsbourg mixed pop outlawry with low-down lechery to blaze his own hipster manifesto, seducing Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin along the way.

France In French with English subtitles
130 minutes CinemaScope / Colour and B&W

Director

Producers

Marc du Pontavice
,
Didier Lupfer

Photography

Guillaume Schiffman

Editor

Maryline Monthieux

Production designer

Christian Marti

Costume designer

Pascaline Chavanne

Sound

Daniel Sobrino
,
Jean Goudier

Music

Olivier Daviaud

With

Éric Elmosnino (Serge Gainsbourg)
,
Lucy Gordon (Jane Birkin)
,
Laetitia Casta (Brigitte Bardot)
,
Doug Jones (La Gueule)
,
Anna Mouglalis (Juliette Gréco)
,
Mylène Jampanoï (Bambou)
,
Sara Forestier (France Gall)
,
Kacey Mottet Klein (Lucien Ginsburg)

Festivals

San Francisco, Tribeca 2010

Elsewhere

A quintessential French icon gets his big- screen bio. In the 60s, singer Serge Gainsbourg mixed pop outlawry with low-down lechery to blaze his own hipster manifesto, seducing Brigitte Bardot, Juliette Gréco and Jane Birkin in the process. Persistent iconoclasm and highly visible personal degeneracy made him a fixture in French public life until his death in 1991. The simulated female orgasm performed by Jane Birkin in his song ‘Je t’aime…moi non plus’ may have brought him the most attention internationally, and ‘Lemon Incest’, recorded with their daughter Charlotte, still causes many a jaw to drop, but it was his reggae version of their national anthem that proved the step too far for many of his compatriots.

Cartoonist Joann Sfar proves a bold and inspired choice as director, interpolating occasional puppet action into a pacey account of the defining dramas – and greatest hits – of Gainsbourg’s lurid life. As the movie tells it, our hero first flaunted authority as a boy during the Nazi occupation and never stopped. He figured out young that he possessed the wit to talk beautiful women into seeing past his beaky nose and stick-out ears. In a film notable for lookalike casting, Kacey Mottet Klein gets things off to an electric start as Lucien Ginsburg, the startlingly unchildlike child who would grow up to be Serge Gainsbourg, while Éric Elmosnino is a dead ringer for the adult Serge. — BG

“Both evocative and faithful in its depiction of the famed French singer’s lascivious life, Gainsbourg offers up a feast of memorable chansons and an almost endless parade of drop-dead-gorgeous muses.” — Jordan Mintzer, Variety