Gainsbourg (15)

Film

Drama

gainsbourg_6.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Jul 27 2010

It is, of course, a slice of pop genius, but it would be wrong to imagine that Serge Gainsbourg’s accomplishments began and ended with 1968’s chart-topping, multi-orgasmic ‘Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus’. Alt-rock aficionados revere the out-there flamboyance of his 1971 album ‘L’Histoire de Melody Nelson’, yet, for the most part, Monsieur SG is a cult oddity this side of the Channel, while enjoying national treasure status on the other. For most British viewers, then, this lively biopic will be an education – and thankfully an entertainment as well. That said, given that generously hootered, gravel-voiced Gainsbourg managed to bed the likes of Juliette Greco, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, it would be tough to make a dull film about him.

Indeed, the fact that some key moments in Gainsbourg’s career – the album with Jean-Luc Godard muse Anna Karina, the ‘Lemon Incest’ single recorded with daughter Charlotte and his propositioning of Whitney Houston on a French TV chat show – all fail to make the final cut indicates no lack of juicy material. Instead the challenge for first-time writer-director Joann Sfar, known for his popular comic ‘The Rabbi’s Cat’, was to get under the skin of his subject, rather than detail every scandalous misadventure.

To a certain extent, Sfar succeeds, leaving us in no doubt of the lasting impression made on young Lucien Ginsburg by being forced to wear a yellow star in wartime Paris, where Nazi propaganda covered the streets with anti-Semitic grotesquerie. The film’s most daring move is to have one of these caricatures step down off the wall and become a life-size marionette which follows Gainsbourg around. However, instead of eating away at his confidence, ‘La Gueule’ (‘The Mug’) becomes a Tyler Durden-esque alter-ego prompting showbiz-aspirant Serge to further deeds of daring naughtiness. Yes, my boy, you shall shag Salvador Dalí’s girlfriend on the artist’s sofa!

With chic animated interludes adding to the appeal, it’s clear there’s an element of visual brio not found in every musical biopic, as this self-styled ‘Vie Héroïque’ happily encompasses sundry winning female performances (Anna Mouglalis as a slinky Ms Greco, Laetitia Casta as a voluptuous Bardot, the late Lucy Gordon as a gamine Miss Birkin) while happily spotlighting lookalike Eric Elmosnino’s convincingly addled incarnation of the title role.

A shame, then, that the film has already played its strongest cards by the end of the ’60s, resulting in an all-too-familiar slide into ravaged self-caricature in its sketchy account of Gainsbourg’s final decades. It’s as if Sfar has run out of things to say, but while the movie’s on a roll, it’s zesty, engaging and frisky.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jul 30, 2010

Duration:

135 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

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LiveReviews|18
1 person listening
Jay

Wonderfully left field...an absolute gem... fantastically original, about an individual of the species. Boring?? Which sad, uneducated, un-creative idiots bohter to write such comments. Let your mind wander and don't miss this gem. Film of the year

Jay

Wonderfully left field...an absolute gem... fantastically original, about an individual of the species. Boring?? Which sad, uneducated, un-creative idiots bohter to write such comments. Let your mind wander and don't miss this gem. Film of the year

Dahlia Travers

People who say "boring" should not have bothered. If you are (1) a Francophile or (b) a fan of Jane Birkin (who could not be?) and/ or (c) a fan of Serge who was one of the most original people to be born in France in the 20th c, then you should see the film!!! It has been accused of being "vague" about the details. Tough! Check him out on Wiki first, THEN go to see the film. Unmissable and essential to anti-establishment thinkers!

Dahlia Travers

People who say "boring" should not have bothered. If you are (1) a Francophile or (b) a fan of Jane Birkin (who could not be?) and/ or (c) a fan of Serge who was one of the most original people to be born in France in the 20th c, then you should see the film!!! It has been accused of being "vague" about the details. Tough! Check him out on Wiki first, THEN go to see the film. Unmissable and essential to anti-establishment thinkers!

Fred

The three women in this film are so gorgeous and adorable, I would go just to see them more than once. That Serge Gainsbourg, lucky bleeder.

Fred

The three women in this film are so gorgeous and adorable, I would go just to see them more than once. That Serge Gainsbourg, lucky bleeder.

Ian

Wonderful film. Most of us don't know that much about Gainsbourg, which maybe helps us enjoy this fantasy recreation of his life. Witty, colourful, unashamedly romantic and best of all, deeply sexy. Great performances, playful and tender. This is a blast, I wouldn't worry about anything too deep or inaccurate, just enjoy the ride, and as the film says at the end, if the legend has outgrown the facts, print the legend. Take your partner, then go home to re-enact some scenes with Gainsbourg music on - you won't regret it!

Ian

Wonderful film. Most of us don't know that much about Gainsbourg, which maybe helps us enjoy this fantasy recreation of his life. Witty, colourful, unashamedly romantic and best of all, deeply sexy. Great performances, playful and tender. This is a blast, I wouldn't worry about anything too deep or inaccurate, just enjoy the ride, and as the film says at the end, if the legend has outgrown the facts, print the legend. Take your partner, then go home to re-enact some scenes with Gainsbourg music on - you won't regret it!

usman latif khawaja

i just went to see -gainsbourg - a french biopic about the controversial russian french jewish songwriter, who was so soaking in his perception of anti semitism that the director even suggested he was famed and successful as he was a jew and because the french hate jews so they bought his songs as a curiosity this trips on with him growing in a nazi occupied germany where he as a kid paints nude models in an art academy and grows up doing the rather very arduous chore ,when his frustration at being a jew manifests as sexual depravity which he riddles himself off by screwing any female in the cast except his mother ,of that there were all these blondes and brunnettes ,including brigitte bardot ,jane birkin and greco amongst other celebrities ,who kept having sex with him while he keeps talking to an altar ego or an anti-nemesis caricature which looked like a penguin from batman but was called mug . there were obligatory references to dali -klimt and picasso , and an extremely artistic sex scene where the bed presumably belonging to dali was decorated with the crucified christ on the head board in a deeply theophilosophical metaphor for christian charity and again there was an excessive affixation to focus on notre dame cathedral as a brightly lit night spot for inter faith lovers - which i think is a symbol of religious tolerance for all -amen. it turned out he liked diaphanous multi -racial beauties with a tragic resplendent despair across their profiles who were usually trashed ,and loved him in his high rise apartment where he lived with a wife and two disgruntled kids . the high rise paris apartment was my favourite bit as you could see montmartre ,eiffel tower and notre dame in a two dimensional view all at the same time and he talked to cats in the more surreal moments when the penguin altar-ego was busy playing the piano - he ranted so much one of the french chics told him that silence suited him more and when he ignored her she told him to at least talk gradually so he was comprehensible. the movie had full frontal nudity which is a normal french cliche and also the obligatory trip to america for french artists -who are patronised by yanks regularly much to their chagrin , and this was a highly critically acclaimed drama where the only thing i liked was the music which is much better when listened without the lush visuals as every shot was so stylised that every character got emotionally choked in the cloud of anti semitic anti nemesis -and the carefully arranged interior design and light which was efuusevively diffuse. i am so greatful to all the critics who liked this unmissable french classic as indeed i shall now go watch A-team for sure ,as i want to compare the two euro-american cult experiences in toto and enlighten my self indeed by this erudite cinematic season . WE WILL indeed BE LOST AS A CIVILISATION IF WE CEASED TO CELEBRATE THESE CRiTICAL picks -

usman latif khawaja

i just went to see -gainsbourg - a french biopic about the controversial russian french jewish songwriter, who was so soaking in his perception of anti semitism that the director even suggested he was famed and successful as he was a jew and because the french hate jews so they bought his songs as a curiosity this trips on with him growing in a nazi occupied germany where he as a kid paints nude models in an art academy and grows up doing the rather very arduous chore ,when his frustration at being a jew manifests as sexual depravity which he riddles himself off by screwing any female in the cast except his mother ,of that there were all these blondes and brunnettes ,including brigitte bardot ,jane birkin and greco amongst other celebrities ,who kept having sex with him while he keeps talking to an altar ego or an anti-nemesis caricature which looked like a penguin from batman but was called mug . there were obligatory references to dali -klimt and picasso , and an extremely artistic sex scene where the bed presumably belonging to dali was decorated with the crucified christ on the head board in a deeply theophilosophical metaphor for christian charity and again there was an excessive affixation to focus on notre dame cathedral as a brightly lit night spot for inter faith lovers - which i think is a symbol of religious tolerance for all -amen. it turned out he liked diaphanous multi -racial beauties with a tragic resplendent despair across their profiles who were usually trashed ,and loved him in his high rise apartment where he lived with a wife and two disgruntled kids . the high rise paris apartment was my favourite bit as you could see montmartre ,eiffel tower and notre dame in a two dimensional view all at the same time and he talked to cats in the more surreal moments when the penguin altar-ego was busy playing the piano - he ranted so much one of the french chics told him that silence suited him more and when he ignored her she told him to at least talk gradually so he was comprehensible. the movie had full frontal nudity which is a normal french cliche and also the obligatory trip to america for french artists -who are patronised by yanks regularly much to their chagrin , and this was a highly critically acclaimed drama where the only thing i liked was the music which is much better when listened without the lush visuals as every shot was so stylised that every character got emotionally choked in the cloud of anti semitic anti nemesis -and the carefully arranged interior design and light which was efuusevively diffuse. i am so greatful to all the critics who liked this unmissable french classic as indeed i shall now go watch A-team for sure ,as i want to compare the two euro-american cult experiences in toto and enlighten my self indeed by this erudite cinematic season . WE WILL indeed BE LOST AS A CIVILISATION IF WE CEASED TO CELEBRATE THESE CRiTICAL picks -

Paul

Great casting and I enjoyed all the characters, but overly long with the Fulham audience getting restless before the final credits. Frank Sidebottom makes gratuitous appearances for a lot of the film. More cuts would have made this a tighter better film, but one for the Serge fanclub.

Paul

Great casting and I enjoyed all the characters, but overly long with the Fulham audience getting restless before the final credits. Frank Sidebottom makes gratuitous appearances for a lot of the film. More cuts would have made this a tighter better film, but one for the Serge fanclub.

EMX

i am neither a fan or an expert on Gainsbourg ,however i really enjoyed this film.The detail,the lighting,the portrayal of the characters, etc .... i felt transported to another world & another time.Perhaps as i am neither a fan or a critc i was able to enjoy the film for what it was rather than what i thought it should have been.

EMX

i am neither a fan or an expert on Gainsbourg ,however i really enjoyed this film.The detail,the lighting,the portrayal of the characters, etc .... i felt transported to another world & another time.Perhaps as i am neither a fan or a critc i was able to enjoy the film for what it was rather than what i thought it should have been.