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


Durango

Sun October 26
Durango is a two-man band with a progressive, heavy rock sound. The band's latest album, "Technologigical Advances," is a concept album that is meant to be heard as a whole unit. To download a track from…

Lida Una

Sun October 5

KDHX Recommends

November
Thursday
06

Discovery Series: All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in...

KDHX presents "All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in 1968" as part of the Discovery Series. Series passports can be bought online. This event looks at the music and activism of 1968, through...


November
Friday
07

Art Attack 2014

Start your chainsaws, St. Louis. On November 7, KDHX presents Art Attack 6: a chaotic art auction that supports KDHX and puts the fate of 32 local artists in your hands. Join us for a night of fine art, drinks and destruction....


November
Wednesday
12

Beat Funktion

KDHX presents this Discovery Series show at The Stage at KDHX, featuring Beat Funktion with Silent Kid. Hip, ultra-funky, stylish, and all-Swedish jazz-funk sextet Beat Funktion pays homage to instrumental early ’70s funk,...


Online Users

3 users and 7009 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook