130 minutes| France-U.S.A.| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema

This imaginative biopic of Serge Gainsbourg – notorious scandaliser and French pop’s maddest genius – whisks us through wartime anti-Semitism, self-loathing, brilliant song craft and the empty failure of success. Graphic artist Joann Sfar’s film usefully fills in the bigger picture on someone primarily known overseas for the partnership with Jane Birkin which delivered the much-banned heavy-breathing ’60s hit single Je t’aime … moi non plus and, of course, one Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Here however, we learn how the experience of sporting a yellow star under the Nazi occupation made Gainsbourg a permanent outsider, while also sparking the self-esteem issues which initially inhibited him from performing his own sardonically melodic material. Former model Laetitia Casta’s voluptuous Brigitte Bardot, and
ill-fated English actress Lucy Gordon’s persuasive Ms Birkin inscribe the romantic/career trajectory, but star of the show is generously-hootered Eric Elmosnino. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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