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Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2010)

Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Music | 20 January 2010 (France)
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1:26 | Trailer
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:

Joann Sfar

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Elmosnino ... Serge Gainsbourg / Voix de La Gueule
Lucy Gordon ... Jane Birkin
Laetitia Casta ... Brigitte Bardot
Doug Jones ... La Gueule
Anna Mouglalis ... Juliette Gréco
Mylène Jampanoï ... Bambou
Sara Forestier ... France Gall
Kacey Mottet Klein ... Lucien Ginsburg
Razvan Vasilescu ... Joseph Ginsburg (le père)
Dinara Drukarova ... Olga Ginsburg (la mère) (as Dinara Droukarova)
Philippe Katerine Philippe Katerine ... Boris Vian
Deborah Grall ... Elisabeth Levizky
Yolande Moreau ... Fréhel
Ophélia Kolb Ophélia Kolb ... Le Modèle
Claude Chabrol ... Le Producteur Musique de Gainsbourg
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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

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English | Russian

Release Date:

20 January 2010 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR11,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,189, 4 September 2011

Gross USA:

$233,007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,220,456
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (recut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lucy Gordon died when the film was in post production. This film is dedicated to her memory. See more »

Goofs

The young Gainsbourg is shown drawing left-handed, but the adult Gainsbourg becomes right-handed. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

At the start of the end credits is a quote from writer-director Joann Sfar: "J'aime trop Gainsbourg pour le ramener au réel. Ce ne sont pas les vérités de Gainsbourg qui m'intéressent, ce sont ses mensonges." ("Gainsbourg transcends reality. I much prefer his lies to his truths.") See more »

Alternate Versions

England is the first territory to release a new cut of the film, running 14 minutes shorter than the previous version and is Joann Sfar's preferred one. Changes include -
  • Deletion of the scene where young Serge pleads in vain for his mother to buy him a gun to play with, even attempting to bribe her by saying he'll work harder on the piano. This precedes the scene where he steals the gun from the shop.
  • Deletion of the scene where Serge and Boris Vian walk to his apartment and the two lie in the road in an effort to stop a cab. While they wait Serge reveals he has a double that follows him around to which Vian replies his is a werewolf. However two policemen soon cut the conversation short. (This precedes Serge arriving at Boris's apartment and explains a later scene where a drunken Serge lies in the road before having the police escort to his concert)
  • Longer scene of the "Baby Pop" groupies, as Gainsbourg wakes up in bed with two naked women as his Mug joyously tosses bank statements at him revealing how rich he is from "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" alone! This is the original lead in to "Qui Est In Qui Est Out".
  • The groupies and party to "Qui Est In Qui Est Out" is cut short, removing Serge narrating about "the mouth being the primary sexual organ". His narration reveals the girls in the room he has slept with and how he was with them. It reveals Gainsbourg's occasional cruel streak and precedes the angry neighbor banging on the door.
  • After Gainsbourg recites La Marseillaise at the press conference, we then see young Serge repeating it and triumphantly raising his fist to the audience.
  • Deletion of a short exchange in the nightclub when a reveller comments to Gainsbourg about him being parodied on a French TV show. The new version removes these lines either because the show is unknown outside of France or because it doesn't tie in as being the night Gainsbourg met his wife Bambou as that TV show wouldn't air until years later. Sfar has said this new version will be the one further released worldwide.
See more »

Connections

References The Swimming Pool (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Intoxicated Man
Written and originally performed by Serge Gainsbourg
Performed by Eric Elmosnino
© 1962 - Warner Chapell Music France
Melody Nelson Publishing
(P) 2010 - One World Films
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It's not big or clever to smoke, and it doesn't make you look cool … unless you happen to be Serge Gainsbourg … !
2 August 2010 | by colin_coyneSee all my reviews

GAINSBOURG (Vie héroïque) … from the Studio Canal stable depicts the life story of Serge Gainsbourg from early childhood in the 1930's and 40's, until just before his death in 1991.

Born Lucien Ginsburg – and as an impressionable youth he felt outcast as being a Jewish child in Nazi occupied Paris in the 1940's – leading him to develop an imaginary friend who adopted an increasingly grotesque caricature / persona of himself that would lead him on to do more and more outrageous things to "rebel" his situation and to attempt to gain an element of "love" and "acceptance" from his notoriety.

A talented musician and artist, Lucien (who later was persuaded by friends to change his name to the more "acceptable" Serge Gainsbourg) became the darling of the social scene, charming his way through a succession of affairs with beautiful women – most notably Brigitte Bardot, Juliette Greco, and Jane Birkin.

I'm surprised that they didn't have a cigarette company sponsoring this movie – as the sheer amount of fags smoked during this film must be some sort of record!

After the showing of the film (at the Cineworld, Haymarket, London) we were treated to a Question and Answer session with the Writer / Director of this movie JOANN SFAR, who explained that the idea for the film came from his own graphic novel on Serge Gainsbourg penned by JOANN SFAR – and this pretty much formed the construct and ambiance of the movie – it is highly graphical and visual in it's content – much of it being fantasy visions and flashbacks within Gainsbourg's mind. Talking from the heart – Joann showed a real passion for the film, and was very open as to how the film was created.

Gainsbourg became the darling of French society with his talent and flair – but he also would court scandal and became infamous for the release of "Je t'aime... moi non plus" (which he originally wrote for Bardot) and the seemingly disrespectful reggae version of the French national anthem "La Marseillaise", but love him or loath him – you couldn't ignore him ..

The whole movie is very atmospheric, and some of the casting of this film was inspired – especially the terrific performances by Eric Elmosnini in the title role, the stunning beautiful Laetitia Casta as Brigitte Bardot, Lucy Gordon as Jane Birkin, Anna Mouglalis as Juliette Greco and Kacey Mottet Klein as the young Lucien Ginsburg.

At the end credits of the film is a dedication "to Lucy" which referred to the actress Lucy Gordon – who (the director explained) played the part of Jane Birkin in the film – and who had tragically committed suicide during the final editing parts of the film – a talented actress – and a sad loss.

At 2 hours 10mins long, in French with English subtitles GAINSBOURG will not be everyone's cup of tea … but the film DOES keep you entertained and if you give it a chance, I'm sure that you will not be disappointed ...

It's not big or clever to smoke, and it doesn't make you look cool … unless you happen to be Serge Gainsbourg … !

GAINSBOURG is on general release from 30th July 2010


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