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Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2010)

Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) (original title)
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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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Photos

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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:

€11,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€2,810,500 (France), 24 January 2010, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,189, 4 September 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$230,311, 11 December 2011
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

The production was lucky enough to have a five month rehearsal period. 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

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

Featured in De wereld draait door: Episode #5.128 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Friedland (Jambe en Bois)
Written and originally performed by Serge Gainsbourg
Performed by Eric Elmosnino
Courtesy of MCA Records
© 1958 - Warner Chapell Music France
Melody Nelson Publishing
(P) 2010 - One World Films
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A little disappointing
18 November 2010 | by ihrtfilmsSee all my reviews

Serge Gainsbourg was many things: an artist, writer, painter, alcoholic and lover to many. He is a fascinating man who lead a fascinating life and director Joann Sfar makes a great effort here to portray it all. From the early days prior to WWII Gainsbourg was clearly going to amount to something. As he grew older and dabbled here and there in various art forms and dabbled in various women with lovers including Bridgette Bardot and Jane Birkin. Yet as he grew older Gainsbourg dabbled in more drink and drugs and this led to a troubled life.

I was to begin with fascinated by this man, full of charm and wit and ideas abounding. Yet as the film progressed I felt less and less concerned by this man and began wondering when the film might end. As interesting he was, he was also not the nicest of characters, especially in his latter years when he appears to be a drunk and grumpy man. The little touches of fantasy work well to begin with, Gainsbourg's 'imaginary friend' is interesting, but then becomes more and more grotesque and yet more annoying and often blurs the line between realism and surrealism.

Ultimately this has enough to provide an interesting account of someone who had a very full life, but for me it lost it's way part way through and therefore lost it's momentum.

More of my reviews at iheartfilms.weebly.com


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