Gainsbourg review

Posted on 9 August 2010
By Toni Garden
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‘Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus’

An iconic and scandalous romp of a song that rocked 1968 and made Serge Gainsbourg a cult legend throughout Europe and a national hero in his native France.

‘Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique’ is an informative and creative approach to accounting the key moments of how Lucien Ginsburg became euro-pop legend, Serge Gainsbourg.

Spanning from a childhood spent hiding from the Nazi’s, to the talented painter and musician nervously being approached by women (including his first romantic encounter with Elisabeth Levitsky, at the apartment of her absent lover, the influential, Salvador Dali) and the divorces, many children and flamboyant life as an international music star.

The quintessential surrealist charm of French cinema means that whether it be Nazi occupied Paris strewn with anti-semetic propaganda, addiction or drunken misery all are lifted from the mundanity that it could face and given caricatured characters to deal with heavy issues.

‘La Gueule’ (The Mug) met at the young and tender age of ten is a life long shadow that cannot be contained,representing Gainsbourg’s ego and prompting outrageous behavior that even Serge questions, but does anyway.

The animated ghouls and musical interludes make for a sensual delight while the story, though taking twists and turns of romantic or political agendas that seem to come out of nowhere, somehow fit in with the erratic nature of our ‘Vie Heroique’ and can be forgiven.

A strong cast built on actors who are dead ringers for their characters. Eric Elmosnino as the elusive the chain-smoking Gainsbourg seems to capture the icon and understand the face behind the Star.

Leading ladies Briget Bardot (Laetitia Casta), Julliete Greco (Anna Mouglalis) and sweet Brit Jane Birkin (Lucy Gordon) each offer insight at different stages in our hero’s life and career.

A life not easily condensed into two hours but the slices of zesty storylines that have been chosen have been executed well by director Joann Sfar.