Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Preview: Joann Sfar’s Gainsbourg, Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus (Gainsbourg, vie héroïque)

For our Tribeca preview today, we’re taking a peek at the French biopic, Gainsbourg, Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus (or Gainsbourg, vie héroïque, depending on where you look), from writer/director/artist: Joann Sfar.

The film examines the life of Serge Gainsbourg, the influential French musician, filmmaker, and actor. In presenting this preview, we’re only showing you the teaser, as presently there aren’t many clips on line with subtitles. You can find another longer look at the film on YouTube, provided by Universal France. The film is based on Sfar’s graphic novel about Gainsbourg, and you can find several incredible illustrations from the director on the film’s website, although you’ll have to navigate through the French menus. One last note, according to the cast notes, Doug Jones will be appearing in the film, which is pretty sweet, as we don’t get enough of Jones out of the layers of make-up and effects.

Gainsbourg… will be screening on April 23rd, 26th, 27th, and 30th. For a complete list of screening times and venues, visit the film’s page on the Tribeca site. There are several fan pages on Facebook, and I wasn’t able to determine if any of them were official, so do a search, and take your pick. Again, you can visit the film’s official website, but you’ll need a translator.

Serge Gainsbourg makes an appearance in William Klein’s Mr. Freedom (from the Eclipse Box Set): 

Best-selling comic book artist Joann Sfar delivers a fascinating biography of famed French singer Serge Gainsbourg with his impressive debut Gainsbourg, Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus. Born Lucien Ginsburg to Russian-Jewish parents, Gainsbourg was lastingly impacted by his childhood in Nazi-occupied France. Sfar gives a glimpse to what is to come by introducing a massive anti-Semitic caricature puppet that chases the young Gainsbourg through the street. From there, Sfar depicts Gainsbourg’s rise to fame and his proclivity to drinking and women’”including his affair with Brigitte Bardot (perfectly cast Laetitia Casta) and marriage to Jane Birkin (Lucy Gordon).

Creating anything but a basic biopic, Sfar envelopes Gainsbourg’s story with a unique and surrealistic style, incorporating such devices as puppets and cartoons to punctuate the incredible life of the man that gave the world songs such as “Bonnie and Clyde” and the scandalous “Je t’aime’¦ moi non plus.” Sfar’s fantastical elements and sumptuous cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman give an added dimension to Gainsbourg’s turbulent life, and Eric Elmosnino’s uncanny resemblance and immersive performance may make you forget you’re not watching Gainsbourg himself.

–David Kwok

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