Bristling with invention, this fast and full-on biopic of French superstar Serge Gainsbourg is rather too stylish, mashing fantasy with real events to the point that we're never sure where the truth lies. But it's eye-catching filmmaking.


Lucien Ginsburg (Mottet-Klein) was born to Jewish parents (Vasilescu and Droukarova) and, after surviving the Nazi occupation, studied art and music.

It's his skill at songwriting that propels him to stardom. Now known as Serge Gainsbourg (Elmosnino), he goes through two marriages, two children and a passionate late-1960s affair with Brigitte Bardot (Casta) before falling in love with the young British actress Jane Birkin (Gordon) and then the model Bambou (Jampanoi). His increasingly manic behaviour, fuelled by alcohol, sabotages his relationships even as it adds fire to his work.


Springing from his own comic-strip about Gainsbourg, filmmaker Sfar infuses the film with Jonze/Gondry-style visual trickery. This lushly crowded movie is a riot of clever camera angles, animation, effects work and puppetry, all bringing Gainsbourg's imagination to life. Sfar creates a pointy spectre called La Gueule (Jones) who follows Gainsbourg through life, spurring him to artistic and personal excess like a demonic muse in contrast to the more angelic Bardot, Birkin and Bambou.

Continue reading: Gainsbourg [Vie Heroique] Review