When the French give the world an international pop star, which isn't all that often, they tend to be unforgettable — Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, and, maybe most unusual of all, Serge Gainsbourg. A new and unconventional feature film about him, called Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life and starring Eric Elmosnino in the title role, opens at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton tomorrow. After the 1:10 p.m. Sunday screening, local arts writer and CityBeat contributing editor Steven Rosen will lead a discussion about the film and about Gainsbourg's impact and life in general.www.esquiretheatre.com. Check out the film's trailer below.
Gainsbourg was also was an actor, director and flamboyant heartthrob whose lovers included Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin (mother, with him, of actress Charlotte Gainsbourg). He also became a familiar figure of outrage, madly smoking cigarettes and getting sloppily drunk in public. At first a chanson singer, he slowly became a kind of French Leonard Cohen and then started experimenting with all sorts of contemporary Pop and Rock material, including Electronica.
Though he died in 1991, he's still being discovered and continues to cast a long shadow over contemporary music, especially in America and Britain, where artists like David Bowie, Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker cite him as a key influence.