The Art of Scandal
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
The women, the excess, the not giving a fuck. Watch Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life and you’ll understand why [insert favorite tabloid fodder here] has nothing on Serge.
By Ayana Byrd
Were he alive today, Serge Gainsbourg would tell Kanye to take a hike. If you’re obsessed with celebrity scandal, put down your People, turn off TMZ and get to know Gainsbourg — father of actress Charlotte and the biggest pop star France has ever known, even two decades after his death.
How? Bump the 2011 biopic, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life to the top of your Netflix streaming queue and find out.
What was it about the controversial singer/poet/artist/actor that brought Paris to a standstill the day of his funeral in 1991? There’s his music, which you’ve heard before, because it’s been covered by De La Soul and Rufus Wainwright. But that’s not why a harem of women sat in his bedroom with his dead body for four days, or why his house is still covered in tribute graffiti.
Maybe it’s because the guy’s a legend whose nicotine-fueled, alcohol-soaked life included love affairs with Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin and was the very stuff of Us Weekly fodder — long before we’d ever heard of Brangelina.
Written and directed by graphic novelist and fellow Frenchie Joann Sfar, A Heroic Life features Nazis and naked women, guns and drugs, and all the songs that made Gainsbourg a star, including — in the best scene — “Je t’aime…moi non plus,” which he recorded after having hotel sex with Bardot.
But as you might expect from the only movie the Gainsbourg family has authorized, you won’t get to watch him burn a 500-franc note live on TV (a crime in France) or tell a 23-year-old Whitney Houston that he wants to “fuck” her. (Currently playing on YouTube ).
You will, however, get a glimpse of a celeb with the kind of colossal fame — not to mention debauched, Charlie Sheen-esque, self-destructive impulses — who could’ve taught today’s tabloid brats a thing or two about the art of scandal.
- Ayana Byrd, OZY Author Contact Ayana Byrd