Lucien Ginsburg, a rebellious French Jewish boy with a grotesque imagination, hates playing the piano like his father, a bar professional, and manages to be admitted to Montmartre Academy as a painter, where he befriends an SS officer who helps him survive the occupation. After the war, he chooses to become a performing artist and adopts the stage name Serge Gainsbourg. His unorthodox songs bring him success, even his parents's approval, and lots of lovers, yet his marriages are all utter failures. Written by
I did watch this film in it's premiere in Athens, at the festival of Franchophone films.I liked the movie which incorporated many surreal and fantasy elements in the linear narrative of the life of the hero. He had an alter ego, which was the substantiation of a childhood fantasy which always tried to tempt him to follow the broad path that led to riches, fame, sex and power. He followed the advice of his evil other self and he became the public icon we know from history and the media. Emphasis is also given to his Jewishness and his courage to manifest it before collaborationist authorities as a young boy.
Excepting the marked surreal elements which the director in an introductory speech attributed to the fact that he is also a comic strip creator, the film emphasizes what we already know, that is his incessant womanizing, publicity seeking and studied provocative stance, culminating in his memorable if controversial rendering of the Marselleise-the French national anthem-in a reggae music version and a refrain that was full of irony.
The sometimes overemphasized description of his rampant sexuality drove some of the audience out of the theatre as did the depiction of his reggae version of the French national anthem. But this was obviously an overreaction due either to ignorance or desire to cut a figure. If you had the slightest idea of who Gainsbourgh was, you would not be expecting anything else from a movie dedicated to his life story.
Because Gainsbough was prone to the pleasures of the flesh with women famous or ordinary, many impressive actresses such as Laetitia Casta and Anna Muglalis appear in the movie portraying the gorgeous women he had affairs with. The whole impression you form is that he had been a anti-authoritarian bobo(bourgeois-Boheme) before this term had been invented.
There is also a sensitive depiction of his relationship with his parents, which was closer and more intimate than one would expect from a man who had such an obvious (real or affected) grudge towards authority.The actresses play convincingly the women of his life, who were glamorous and sexy. In the end one is left with the question whether such a life is enviable and worthy of emulation or example to avoid. whichever answer each one reaches, as a spectacle it is surely interesting to see.
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