Joann Sfar, a French comics artist, is a self-proclaimed Serge Gainsbourg fanatic (this is not an unnatural response to SG), a fact made obvious by his creating both a graphic novel and a film based on the life of the controversial French singer. This seems meaningless to the uninitiated, but listen: Gainsbourg is swag to the maximum, swag a hundred thousand, swag a hundred trillion. To quote Lil B, of course.
Sfar's film begins with Gainsbourg's childhood in Nazi-occupied Paris and follows his rise to stardom, the result of masterpieces like 1971's Histoire de Melody Nelson, one of the greatest albums ever recorded. The film blends animation, puppetry, and live-action, pushing the limits of the biopic in a herculean effort to capture Gainsbourg's larger than life persona. A man with impeccable style and charm, he courted some of the most beautiful women of his time, including Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, the latter whom he married. Birkin gave birth to a daughter, Charlotte, in 1970. Maybe you've heard of her.
Tomorrow, the French Institute presents Gainsbourg (vie héroïque) in its first NYC screening.