To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, the French are different from you and me. One only needs to watch this trailer for the latest documentary about Serge Gainsbourg for proof of this assertion.
To be clear, this film makes no pretense of breaking new ground. Rather, “Gainsbourg and His Girls” (or “Gainsbourg, l’homme qui aimait les femmes”) only looks to burnish the carefully crafted image of the soulful chanteur and devastating ladies’ man that already holds sway in the popular imagination.
Directed by Didier Varrod and Pascal Forneri, this movie-slash-extended-music-video shows Gainsbourg and his beguiling menagerie of muses — Juliette Gréco, Brigitte Bardot, Francois Hardy, Jane Birkin, Anna Karina and Vanessa Paradis — in all their Gallic-inflected, smoke-stained glory.
After making its U.S. premiere at the CMJ Music Festival in New York City last week, some critics observed – with irritation — that
[N]aked breasts appear on screen when you least expect it, characters spend inordinate amounts of time analyzing, rather than experiencing, their happiness, and the title subject routinely engages in metaphysical twisters that would have done Goddard or Rouch proud.
In other words, it’s a French film.
However, one need not watch this or any film to truly appreciate the Gainsbourg magic. His music – some 40-odd years later – still speaks for itself. Below, a Gainbourg classic, featuring real-life lady love Jane Birkin.
“Je t’aime (moi non plus)”