Joann Sfar’s New Career

The NYT, among others, writes today about French singer Serge Gainsbourg, who was an icon in his native country from the ’60’s through his death in 1991. A new film about him, Serge Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, opens this week.

NPR, however, focuses on the director, Joann Sfar, already well-known as an award-winning comics artist, because he “is as interesting as its subject.”

His books include The Rabbi’s Cat, (Pantheon/ Knopf Doubleday), Little Vampire (First Second/Macmillan) and The Little PrinceGraphic Novel (HMH), which was recommended by Lisa Von Drasek as a “Book to Give Kids You Don’t Know Very Well.” His latest, the fourth in the Night of the Ladykiller, Dungeon series (NBM/ComicsLit) came out in June. Booklist called it “A wonderful addition to the series”

Although some stories claim the movie  Serge Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is based on a comic (it’s even listed that way in, Sfar says it is not, but that he applied “comic book techniques” to the live action movie,

I love [the] Russian way of storytelling, when you put strong picture close to other strong picture, and you expect the audience to do the job….a kind of montage way of editing a movie.

Gainsbourg may be less familiar to American audiences than Sfar. Some identify him only through his muse, Jane Birkin, the ’60’s British actress for whom the Hermes’ Birkin Bag was named (it’s the one Samantha lusted for on Sex and the City), or for the couple’s daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg who stars with Kirsten Durst in the upcoming movie Melancholia.

Playdates for Serge Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life are listed on the films website,

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