6.9/10
8,346
29 user 126 critic

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2010)

Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) (original title)
Trailer
1:26 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

A glimpse at the life of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, from growing up in 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris through his successful song-writing years in the 1960s to his death in 1991 at the age of 62.

Director:

Writers:

(graphic novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Bambou
...
...
Lucien Ginsburg
...
Joseph Ginsburg (le père)
Dinara Drukarova ...
Olga Ginsburg (la mère) (as Dinara Droukarova)
Philippe Katerine ...
...
Elisabeth Levizky
...
Ophélia Kolb ...
Le Modèle
...
Le Producteur Musique de Gainsbourg
Edit

Storyline

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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | 1960s | song | singer | jewish | See All (65) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 January 2010 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£135,031 (UK) (30 July 2010)

Gross:

$230,311 (USA) (9 December 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (recut)

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This is not the first attempt to bring a film about the life of Serge Gainsbourg to the screen, but as of 2010 is the only one the family has permitted, due to Sfar's fairytale take on Gainsbourg. Sfar revealed the family wanted to protect Gainsbourg's secrets. See more »

Goofs

In the 135 minute version of the film a nightclub reveler laughs about Gainsbourg being parodied on 'Guignols de l'info' (a French puppet show in which celebrities are mocked) but in the same scene Gainsbourg meets Bambou for the first time (his last wife). He married Bambou in 1981 but the Guignols were only created in 1988. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lucien Ginsburg: Can I put your hand in mine?
Girl: No, you're too ugly.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Pour Lucy" i.e. this was Lucy Gordon 's last film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Code Blue (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

L'Eau à la bouche
Performed by Serge Gainsbourg
© 1959 - Warner Chapell Music France
Melody Nelson Publishing
(P) 2010 - One World Films
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Serge Gainsbourg. The Man. The Myth. The Legend?
6 August 2010 | by (Sheffield, UK) – See all my reviews

Lucien 'Serge Gainsbourg' Ginsburg. Artist. Writer. Performer. Alcoholic. Smoker. Rebel. Womanizer. Genius? Joann Sfar's film documents the sporadic lifestyle of the famous French artist Serge Gainsbourg (Eric Elmosnino), whose life contained no boundaries, no objects off limit, and continually tested the patience of those huddled together around him. Beginning with a young Gainsbourg developing his taste for painting aspiring models in Nazi-Occupied France as a mere teenager, the film thereupon concentrates primarily upon his relationships with various beautiful women and his life choices in regards to his ever-changing occupation over his sixty-year-life-span.

What makes this film work so well as a biopic is the truly ingenious performances by both Kacey Mottet Klein (Young Gainsbourg) and Eric Elmosnino (Adult Gainsbourg) who both somewhat beautifully represent such a tragic figure throughout his whole on-screen lifetime. Kacey portrays Gainsbourg as a boy who is maturing faster than those other children around him, so far so, that he explains to one of the schoolchildren the reason that he is good at drawing pubic hairs is because he has had an up-close and personal experience with them before. While he is also shown to be a lonely child, an outcast as Jewish child growing up in Nazi-Occupied France, and thus he develops an affable 'imaginary friend' to keep himself company. Born as small, soft head that watches over young Gainsbourg as he sleeps in the woods to avoid the Nazi soldiers, his only friend soon becomes his worst enemy as he matures into a complicated man. His once pleasant 'imaginary friend' is now a grotesque being with a large nose, long-thin fingers and an affection for cigarettes and bullying Gainsbourg. He continually berates insults, prods and engages Serge, providing the viewpoint that he himself was his harshest critic, and a critic he could not simply dismiss without entire control over his life.

Aside from the performances, the way Sfar allows the films narrative to flow in a temporal manner with no mention of time, or calendar dates, further draws the audience in to Gainsbourg's contrived world. The only way to tell when an event shifts forward in his lifetime, is through his own physical deterioration from old age which is heavily dictated by his excessive abuse of alcohol and tobacco. But as Gainsbourg becomes older, his sexual conquests stay the same age; from Elisabeth (Deborah Grall), to Jane (the late Lucy Gordon), and to an affair with the insatiable Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Casta), before he eventually settles down with Bambou (Mylene Jampanoi), who would be his final partner. These are all young, vulnerable women who Gainsbourg exploits for his own sexual misgivings, and once they become too old, or too boring, he discards them like a child throwing away an old toy to badger his parents for a new, more expensive model.

Joann Sfar beautifully flowing biopic paints Serge Gainsbourg as a shallow, misogynistic, grumpy old man, who once had dreams of becoming famous for doing anything, but once those dreams were realised, greed and narcissism triumphed over his once forgotten ambitions. Utilizing his gift for writing, artistry and music Gainsbourg chose the route of controversy and scandal over that of happiness and family, which is exemplified in his response to the media after he had a heart attack. When the reporters asked what he will be doing now after such a dangerous and life threatening operation, Gainsbourg calmly asserted to those in attendance that he will "continue to smoke many more cigarettes and drink much more alcohol."


10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?