I just spent a productive morning reading and writing and while procrastinating on my next short story I started watching old Serge Gainsbourg interviews on French television. This guy will never cease to be awesome in my mind. They are in French without subtitles, but you can grasp the concept of them even if you don't really understand them (especially the Whitney Houston one - Michel Drucker's discomfort is hilarious!).
I wanted to see this last year when it was released in a few independent cinemas in NYC, but as usual, time got away from me, and I never made it in time. Whenever I am in California I always make at least one trip to my favourite record store, Dimple Records, and picked up a copy of the DVD there. As always, I never read reviews before reading or watching anything, so I didn't know what to expect, except that it was a new biopic on one of my favourite artists, the incomparable Serge Gainsbourg. Love him or hate him, you cannot dispute the immense amount of talent this man had.
The film starts with Gainsbourg (or the young Lucien Ginsberg) at home with his family while Paris falls under Nazi occupation and pretty much follows the timeline of his life via the multiple women he either had affairs with or married (Juliette Gréco, Brigitte Bardo, Jane Birkin and Bambou to name a few). There is a real personal twist on the part of the writer and director, Joann Sfar, where he uses his imagination as to how he thinks Gainsbourg's imagination worked, adding a graphic novel type element to the film in parts. I won't say any more about that because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may have not seen it before. Music is of course an integral part to the storyline, portraying Gainsbourg's shift from painting to writing songs for himself and others, beginning with his random meeting with the multi-talented Boris Vian, through the different periods of his influences (and there are many), with special attention held on some of his more scandalous pieces (Je t'aime moi non plus and his reggae version of La Marseillaise for example).
Eric Elmosnino, who plays Gainsbourg, looks remarkably like him, and channels his multi-faceted personality wonderfully. Gainsbourg was an asshole and a drunk, but he was also full of talent and very much loved. I'm so happy that he was portrayed correctly - some biopics tend to elevate an artist instead of showing how they really were. Gainsbourg was always someone I wanted to despise because he could be so horrid, but never could, because he was just so original and wonderful. Laetitia Casta, who I never really thought much of, plays a great Bardot, but the English actress, Lucy Gordon, who played Jane Birkin, really shone in her role. While I was watching the film I kept trying to think about where I had seen her before, until it dawned on me that she had played an English girl in Les Poupées Russes, a French film that I adore. In any case, I just found out that she died not long after the filming wrapped on the Gainsbourg biopic, which made me feel very sad - such a talented actress...
An all-around positive review for this biopic - if you haven't seen it yet then I really suggest you do, even if you aren't a fan of Serge Gainsbourg. It's hugely entertaining.
I spent all afternoon working on some articles at Cake Shop, while drinking copious amounts of coffee and listening to my ipod to drown out the squeals of a group of tourists who had come to eat cake. There are about 10 different sarcastic comments that I could add to that, but I am going to restrain myself from sarcasm because I am way too excited to post what I have wanted to post all day! I was scrolling through the many playlists I have made over the past few years that I have owned this current ipod and came across one called "Time". Quelle little gem!! All old French music that I love so much. As it made me so happy, I want to share it with the world, so I recreated it on Spotify and made it a public playlist.
And yes, technically Jacques Brel, Marlene Dietrich, Jane Birkin and Josephine Baker weren't French (although Josephine Baker did become a French citizen), but they are singing in French, so it works. And Jacques Brel is on par with Tim Buckley in my head, and those of you who know me also know what that means.
Click on the link below and the playlist should open in Spotify. If it doesn't tell me immediately as no time should be wasted on you not listening to this!!
"Des adieux a jamais..." Time, time, time, where are you going? "J'en ai marre, j'en ai ma claque" What happened to all the happy thoughts and promises? "Jouez la farce du grand amour, dites jamais, dites toujours" Sorry becomes meaningless when you say it everyday "Amour sans amour, rien n'est plus triste" Goodbye. Au revoir, a jamais.