Friday, August 10, 2007

Kehr on Gainsbourg

Dave Kehr has a nice writeup in the Times of a Brigitte Bardot DVD collection. One of the films included is Voulez-vous danser avec moi? of which Kehr says:

"Come Dance With Me" was the first film of a young singer-songwriter, Serge Gainsbourg, who would gradually age into the position of France's foremost hipster, a combination of Burt Bacharach and Jack Nicholson. He's a reptilian heavy in "Come Dance" - the photographer behind the blackmail scene - but he has an insolent, punkish quality that makes him much more interesting than the squares whom Ms. Bardot's characters are generally, and inexplicably, drawn to.

As Kehr implies, it's not a very good film, but Gainsbourg has a couple of good scenes that steal the show. It's not so much that's he's insolent or punkish, which he is, but that he's so high-strung, he lacks any credibility as an effective blackmailer, let alone one who is supposed to operate with a modicum of stealth. He plays the character with such a fidgety, guilt-ridden demeanour, that you can't imagine him walking down the street without getting arrested. In any case, it's a fun little part in an otherwise innocuous film. So, for Gainsbourg fans, it's worth searching out.

In addition, the Bardot set includes /Ae Coeur Joie by Serge Bourguignon, a director I am completely unfamiliar with. Jane Birkin tells the story that, when she first met Gainsbourg, she had no idea who he was and referred to him as Serge Bourguignon. I always assumed this was some kind of diss on his boozy persona, conflating his name with the traditional French recipe of beef stewed in red wine but, if there actually was a Serge Bourguignon, maybe she just confused the two Serges. In any case, I now have a new Bardot film and a new Serge to explore. I also have an utter craving for beef bourguignon, but the weather's still a little too warm for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment