Director and screenwriter Joann Sfar’s cinematic valentine to Gallic crooner Serge Gainsbourg, beloved icon of hipsters far and wide, is not to be missed. The mischievous patriarch of the Gainsbourg clan made a name for himself in the sixties for his suave ballads, notorious romps with beautiful women, and foulmouthed outbursts on national TV. Of course, Sfar’s is no mere biopic, but a kind of love letter to the father of French cool, a mesmerizing journey with a prolific, if at times troubled, artist (is there any other kind?).
We’re especially captivated by the film’s enviable cast of lovelies, including a blond Laetitia Casta in her silver-screen debut as—who else?—Brigitte Bardot in her bombshell prime. Apparently, the role of Serge was initially offered to Charlotte Gainsbourg in a gender-bending, Kaufman-esque turn, but the gamine ingenue eventually pulled out of the project for personal reasons. Released in France earlier this year, Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) is beginning its English-language rounds, opening in the UK tomorrow (July 30) and in the States early fall.