Monday, June 14, 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg

The Leopard has been following the career of the tall, lanky French actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg for a while now, since her co-starring role in the film Science of Sleep an interesting, inventive film directed by the outrageously gifted Michel Gondry. It’s a movie I didn’t think entirely worked, but I did enjoy Gainsbourg’s understated performance.

Many people know that her mother and father as the British actress Jane Birkin and the well known pop musician Serge Gainsbourg,  and that there was some controversy surrounding the infamous “Lemon Incest” video many years ago which featured father and daughter cuddling in bed.  Surviving this, later Charlotte proved to be a fine young actor in such films as Paroles Et Musique (“Love Songs”) and L’Effrontée, for which she won a César in 1985 for Most Promising Young Actress.

Her most recent role has been in the gutsy Lars Von Trier film Antichrist. Despite being one of the more disturbing films in recent memory, it contains her finest, bravest performance to date.

Musically, Gainsbourg has taste to burn, if not necessarily the broadest of musical abilities. In her albums, she tends to choose the very best collaborators to write and produce her music while she sings/talks in a feathery whisper. On her album 5:55 she successfully teamed up with the excellent electronic group Air, and later, IRM, which was her artistic response to recent brain surgery. This new record brought her together with the eclectic  musician Beck and has been well received by critics.  It’s the type of disc you share with friends to show your musical sophistication.

(Click on title for music sample)

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