Gainsbourg (vie heröique)
France, 2009, 135 minutes
Tue, Apr 27 / 6:00 / Kabuki / GAIN27K
Wed, Apr 28 / 3:00 / Kabuki / GAIN28K
Fri, Apr 30 / 3:15 / Kabuki / GAIN30K
Best known in the United States for “Je t’aime . . . moi non plus,” his racy duet with then-lover Jane Birkin, singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg packed a lot of life into 62 years. As much provocateur as artist, he delighted in defying expectations, so it is only appropriate that this offbeat biopic should do the same. In keeping with a subject who rode the waves of the pop charts, comic book artist–turned-filmmaker Joann Sfar takes a greatest-hits approach to Gainsbourg’s life, concentrating on his early years as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied France, his transition from painter to jazz musician to pop superstar, his storied romances with the likes of Birkin and Brigitte Bardot, his many scandals and the behind-the-scenes stories of some of his most famous songs, including the Bardot hits “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Comic Strip.” In spot-on casting, Kacey Mottet Klein contributes a vivacious turn as Lucien, the precocious, irrepressible boy who would grow up to be Serge Gainsbourg, while Eric Elmosnino is a dead ringer in looks and mannerisms for the adult Serge. Sfar’s own comic-book roots are evident in some of the drama’s quirkier elements, particularly “La Gueule” (or “ugly face”), a grotesque alter ego—part imaginary friend and all id—who accompanies Gainsbourg through life. This imaginative, exuberant and affectionate take on the man, his music and his times is a treasure trove for his fans and a witty introduction to anyone unfamiliar with his legend.
Presented in association with San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
Related screening Work in Progress: Joann Sfar Draws from Memory