Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

About the Film

Taking the best from La Vie En Rose and Amelie 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 1960's Paris.
Starring: Eric Elmosnino, Lucy Gordon, Laetitia Casta, Doug Jones, Sara Forestier
Director: Joann Sfar

Awards & Festivals

  • Winner! César Awards 2011 - Best Actor, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! César Awards 2011 - Best First Film, Joann Sfar (director), Didier Lupfer (producer), Marc Du Pontavice (producer)
  • Winner! César Awards 2011 - Best Sound
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Cinematography
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Editing
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Film, Joann Sfar (director), Didier Lupfer (producer), Marc Du Pontavice (producer)
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Production Design
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Supporting Actress, Laetitia Casta 
  • Winner! Étoile d'Or 2011 - Best Actor, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! Étoile d'Or 2011 - Best Male Newcomer, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! Tribeca Film Festival 2010 - Best Actor, Narrative Feature, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! Sacramento French Film Festival 2011 - Audience Award

Cast & Crew

Cast

Serge Gainsbourg: Eric Elmosnino
Jane Birkin: Lucy Gordon
Brigitte Bardot: Laetitia Casta
La Gueule: Doug Jones
Juliette Gréco: Anna Mouglalis
Bambou: Mylène Jampanoï
France Gall: Sara Forestier
Lucien Ginsburg: Kacey Mottet-Klein
Joseph Ginsburg: Razvan Vasilescu
Olga Ginsburg: Dinara Droukarova
Boris Vian: Philippe Katerine
Elisabeth Deborah: Grall
Fréhel: Yolande Moreau

Crew

Director: Joann Sfar
Screenplay:
Joann Sfar
Producers:
Marc Du Pontavice and Matthew Gledhill
Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman
Film Editing: Maryline Monthieux
Casting: Stéphane Batut
Production Design: Christian Marti
Set Decoration: Isabelle Girard
Costume Design: Pascaline Chavanne
Original Music: Olivier Daviaud

Technical Info

Production Year: 2010
Countries of Production: France, France
Languages: French
Running Time: 2h 2m
Screen Ratio: 2.35:1
Sound: Dolby Digital
Color: Color
Rating: Unrated

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life - Press Page

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Awards & Festivals

  • Winner! César Awards 2011 - Best Actor, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! César Awards 2011 - Best First Film, Joann Sfar (director), Didier Lupfer (producer), Marc Du Pontavice (producer)
  • Winner! César Awards 2011 - Best Sound
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Cinematography
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Editing
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Film, Joann Sfar (director), Didier Lupfer (producer), Marc Du Pontavice (producer)
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Production Design
  • César Awards 2011 Nominee - Best Supporting Actress, Laetitia Casta 
  • Winner! Étoile d'Or 2011 - Best Actor, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! Étoile d'Or 2011 - Best Male Newcomer, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! Tribeca Film Festival 2010 - Best Actor, Narrative Feature, Eric Elmosnino
  • Winner! Sacramento French Film Festival 2011 - Audience Award

Detailed Film Info

Once upon a time, a young boy, Lucien, walked up and down the streets of Paris, proudly showing off the abominable yellow star pinned to his jacket.

It’s 1941.

When this child of Russian-Jewish parents with a cheeky sparkle in his eyes crosses paths with the pro-Nazi French militia, he starts singing The Marseillaise anthem alongside them... even though he doesn‘t quite know the words.

Then something stops young Lucien short – anti-Semitic propaganda featuring a caricature of a Jew. It’s an ugly face that resembles him a bit too closely. A face pinned up to be seen and scorned by all.

He wants to run away or erase the grotesque face but does neither. The caricature suddenly comes to life, pops out of the wall and starts to follow the boy. From that point on, the ugly face will never leave his side. It will be his shadow, his curse, his inspiration, his only companion, his alter ego.

Though he doesn’t know it yet, little Lucien will one day be known as Serge Gainsbourg.

This tale recounts the life of a hero. It’s about a young boy who goes around occupied Paris spouting out words as though he were putting flowers in a gun barrel. Forty years later, he provokes a major upheaval at a concert in Strasbourg where he is supposed to sing a Jamaican reggae version of The Marseillaise. The concert hall is sacked by the military, and the black musicians don’t even dare to come on stage. Gainsbourg became a true legend by winning over France with his subversive wit.

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