Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Serge Gainsbourg, vie héroïque)
Jump to: navigation, search
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life
Promotional poster
Directed by Joann Sfar
Produced by
Written by Joann Sfar
Music by Olivier Daviaud
Cinematography Guillaume Schiffman
Edited by Maryline Monthieux
Distributed by Universal Pictures (France)
Music Box Films/Focus Features (US)
Optimum Releasing (UK)
Release date(s)
  • 20 January 2010 (2010-01-20) (France)
  • 30 July 2010 (2010-07-30) (United Kingdom)
Running time 130 minutes[1]
  • France
  • United Kingdom
Language French
Budget €14,000,000
Box office $19,417,162[2]

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is a 2010 drama film written and directed by Joann Sfar, based on his graphic novel. It is a biopic of French singer Serge Gainsbourg. This was the last film for Lucy Gordon, after her suicide in 2009.


The film follows notorious musician Serge Gainsbourg's exploits from his upbringing in Nazi occupied France through his rise to fame and love affairs with Juliette Gréco, Brigitte Bardot and marriage to Jane Birkin to his later experimentation with reggae in Jamaica. It also incorporates multiple elements of fantasy, most significantly with the character called "The Mug", an animated exaggeration of Gainsbourg that acts as his conscience (or anti-conscience) at crucial moments in Gainsbourg's life. The film also includes many of Gainsbourg's more famous songs, which serve as the soundtrack to the film and often serve as plot elements themselves.


Actor Role
Eric Elmosnino Serge Gainsbourg
Lucy Gordon Jane Birkin
Laetitia Casta Brigitte Bardot
Doug Jones La Gueule (Gainsbourg's mug)
Mylène Jampanoï Bambou (Caroline von Paulus)
Anna Mouglalis Juliette Gréco
Yolande Moreau Fréhel
Sara Forestier France Gall
Philippe Katerine Boris Vian
Claude Chabrol Gainsbourg's Music Producer
Ophélia Kolb The Model
Kacey Mottet Klein young Serge Gainsbourg (Lucien Ginsburg)


Critical reviews[edit]

The film was awarded 3 César Awards on 25 February 2011 including a César Award for Best Actor for Eric Elmosnino, a César Award for Best Debut for Joann Sfar and César Award for Best Sound. It also received an additional 8 nominations.

In the United States, the film received mixed reviews. Website metacritic assigned it a score of 57 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]

Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times enjoyed the film:

Unconventional, imaginative, nothing if not audacious, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is a portrait of creativity from the inside, a serious yet playful attempt to find an artistic way to tell an emotional truth... the songwriter's life is heroic because he lived deeply in his own imagination and did continual battle with the personal demons who shared that space with him... Screenwriter Sfar's final word on his difficult, fascinating man is "I prefer his lies to his truth," his dreams to his reality. It's not hard to see why.[6]

Other critics did not think so highly of it, such as A.O. Scott of The New York Times:

[M]uch of the best and worst of Gainsbourg— the chat show provocateur and the charismatic performer — can be found on Internet video sites, which makes Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life feel a bit superfluous. Its forays into his private life, including a brief, intense affair with Ms. Bardot and a long, tumultuous relationship with Ms. Birkin, are more dutiful than revelatory. And how can Ms. Casta and Ms. Gordon, both nimble actresses (and quite beautiful), be expected to measure up against real-life goddesses whose images remain ubiquitous and irresistible? The puppets and the music make Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life engaging, but it is also visually hectic and lacks either the dramatic intensity or the arresting insight that might have lifted it out of the pedestrian realm of the admiring biopic.[7]


  1. ^ Roger Ebert (4 December 2012). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2013: 25th Anniversary Edition. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 191. ISBN 978-1-4494-2344-5. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Gainsbourg (vie héroïque) (2010)". JP Box Office. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  3. ^ "Lucy Gordon, Actress, Dead in Apparent Suicide". 2009-05-21. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  4. ^ Samuel, Henry (2009-05-21). "British actress Lucy Gordon found dead in Paris flat". Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  5. ^ MarcDoyle. "Critic Reviews for Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life at Metacritic". Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  6. ^ Turan, Kenneth (2011-09-02). "'Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life': movie review". Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  7. ^ By A. O. Scott (2011-08-30). "‘Gainsbourg - A Heroic Life,’ by Joann Sfar - Review -". Retrieved 2011-09-07. 

External links[edit]