Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Serge Gainsbourg. A Heroic Life

Serge Gainsbourg was a highly influential French singer-songwriter, actor, director. He was Jewish, the children of Russian Jewish parents, and his extensive discography includes a darkly comic rock album called "Rock around the Bunker" about Nazism that was influenced by his experiences wearing a yellow star and hiding from the Nazi and Vichy governments.

A new film about Gainsbourg was just released. The film, called "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life" was directed by Joann Sfar, one of my favorite comic book artists. Sfar, himself, is also French, Jewish and known for incorporating Jewish themes and ideas into his work (see The Rabbi's Cat, The Rabbi's Cat 2, and Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East.)

I can't wait to see this. It looks great.

Here's the official blurb and trailer.
Taking the best from LA VIE EN ROSE and AMÉLIE, renowned comic book artist Joann Sfar’s GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE is a completely original take on one of France’s greatest mavericks, the illustrious and infamous Jewish singer-songwriter, Serge Gainsbourg (Eric Elmosnino). Born Lucien Ginsburg to Russian-Jewish parents, Sfar follows him from his precocious childhood in Nazi-occupied Paris, to his beginnings as small time jazz musician and finally pop superstar. Along the way he romances many of the era’s most beautiful women, including Juliette Greco (Anna Mouglalis), Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Casta) and Jane Birkin (Lucy Gordon). Employing a witty surrealistic style and a soundtrack that includes many of the musician’s greatest hits, GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE is a quintessential time capsule to ‘60’s Paris.

For more info on the film and a listing of theaters, check out the Music Box Films website.

I'm currently bouncing back and forth between cranking up some Gainsbourg tunes and some covers from the "Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg" album put out by John Zorn's Tzadik: Radical Jewish Culture label. The album includes covers by John Zorn, Fred Firth, Marc Ribot, Cibo Matto, Elysian Fields, Kramer, Franz Treichler (of the Young Gods), Blonde Redhead and others. I don't have a copy of Rock around the Bunker but I'm hot on it's trail.


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