Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Sunday, 04 December 2011 23:33

An Imaginative Interpretation of 'Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life'

musicbox.ehclients.com musicbox.ehclients.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

As quirky and creative as its subject, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life chronicles the iconic French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. In the original French title, the further addition of "A Fairytale by Joann Sfar" accurately points to the deferential treatment of the infamous Gainsbourg, especially late in his late, and the fanciful additions by director/writer Sfar who adapted his own graphic comic.

The chronologically organized story begins with Gainsbourg as Lucien Ginsburg, born in Paris, 1928 to Russian Jewish émigrés. Growing up in the anti-Semitic, Vichy regime, Lucien, soon to be called Serge, braggadociously hurries to get his yellow star while also pursued in several imaginary confrontations by a figure with an exaggerated balloon head that satirizes the anti-Semitic caricatures of the time. Paralleling this figure, later in his life Serge is shadowed by another alter ego, a lanky man with a big nose and huge ears, an amplification of the ugly figure Serge considered himself.

All three together—both alter egos and Serge himself—embody the range from naive to urbane, charming to insulting, appealing to appalling. A self-described Gainsbourg fanatic, Sfar presents a strong implicit and explicit commentary on the social milieu and Gainsbourg's place within it, both as anti-Semitic target and self-indulgent exploiter. However, Sfar softens considerably the sexist elements, playing for ribald humor Serge's preoccupation with nude female models and his explicit sketches. He was, indeed, a ladies man, involved with Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, among many other famous women, but all but erased from this sympathetic portrayal is his ugly, reprehensible behavior to sexual partners, celebrities, and ordinary people.

This is a fairytale but it is disingenuous to elide such details and play for humor, a characteristic of several current biopics: J. Edgar and Iron Lady among them. The film Gainsbourg does gain strength and quality in tracing his musical ascendance to popular culture idol in France, and Sfar's surrealistic choices add immense appeal. In French with English subtitles at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m. from Sunday, December 11th through Thursday, December 15th. For more information and the current schedule, you may call 314-968-7487 or go to the web site.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4

KDHX Recommends

August
Friday
29

Small Black, Scarlet Tanager

KDHX welcomes Small Black to the Ready Room, with Scarlet Tanager. This event is all ages.


August
Saturday
30

Cave States at Harvest Sessions 2014

Cave States at Harvest Sessions 2014 Cave States makes its debut live performance at Harvest Sessions this week. The acoustic Americana band features veteran St. Louis musicians Danny Kathriner, Chris Grabau, Todd Schnitzer, John Higgins and John Horton. This free...


September
Friday
05

Art Outside

Art Outside is not an ordinary fair, but one that features art, music and plenty of food and drink from Schlafly Beer. Hosted at the brewery’s Bottleworks location in Maplewood, Missouri, Art Outside draws approximately 15,000...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

4 users and 19403 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook