Gainsbourg by Gainsbourg, An Intimate Self-Portrait

Dir: Pierre-Henri Salfati


One word for this 99-minute archive documentary chronicling the life and times of the writer and musician Serge Gainsbourg - smoking.

Narrated by the late, great (or should that be grate?) enfant terrible of the French avant-garde, this film, much of which is previously unseen footage, seems entirely viewed through a cloud of cigarette smoke.

Gainsbourg, born Lucien Ginsberg, the son of a Russian Jewish café pianist, went on to become one of France's most celebrated songwriters. Most famously he was the author of that song (Je t'aime…moi non plus) which, sung with his then partner Jane Birkin, scandalised polite society in 1969.

I tried really hard to like this but failed. Just couldn't get past all the smoke, which seemed to ooze off the screen.

Last updated: 9:47am, October 23 2012