Based on the life of French Singer/Poet/All-round trouble-causer Serge Gainsbourg, this epic life saga-come-musical is every bit as dark and stylish as the film’s posters promised. Eric Elmosnino is at graceful ease in the lead role, his acute acting allowing us to except and agree with all the film’s emotions.
The tone of the movie is blissfully quirky, stumbling between the normal, unbelievable and extraordinary. Gainsbourg’s ‘Mug’ shows Sfar’s playfullness through it’s form - the long fingers and nose, the overbearing height, the general exaggerated *jewishness* of the character makes the audience like him, despite his somewhat hideous appearance. He’s a fantastic addition to the film too - making sure that we see the different levels that the Frenchman operated on.
The camera-work and scenary in this film is (obviously) my favourite part. I’m a sucker for contrasted shots and vibrant action and this film provides both. The section with Gainsbourg as a child hiding in the woods is visually stunning, whilst the flat-fire is unsettling yet beautiful. The dream and hallucination scenes are equally as fantastic - Gainsbourg flying over the city being my personal favourite.
Of course, the film places a heavy emphasis on the romances during Serge’s life: his affair with Bridget Bardot and relationship with English actress Jane Birkin make up a good chunk of the movie’s plot. Contrary to…probably most of the rest of the world…I preferred Jane to Bridget. Her beauty and charm was more subtle, but more captivating because of this. Sex, also then, being a main feature, was dealt with artistically - never revealing too much, but definitely never leaving that much to the imagination.
It is the music that overall steals the show, however. Elmosnino voice is so gravelling and passionate; on comparing him to Gainsbourg after watching the film, I actually liked the actor’s songs more (a bold claim I know..) - his version of ”Aux Armes et cetera” is definitely the best but still ever-so-closely followed by the rest.
This film is following in the footsteps of A Single Man in it’s virtues, disgraces, imagery and memorability. I like.