a mother-daughter tete-a-tete haunted by the absence of Gainsbourg


This is the story of a small barbecue. Its chimney and its hood have fallen off, it lacks a wheel but its carcass is still there, near the entrance. Jane Birkin throws nothing, “It’s like a sweet disease”, she says. The brazier no longer works but it reminds her of a man: Serge Gainsbourg, the posthumous hero of the film directed by their daughter. Presented out of competition at Cannes, summer 2021, this documentary may be called Jane by Charlotte, the equation is simple: it gives Gainsbourg. Who would have thought that the one who cooked irish stew also prepared grilled meats?

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From the first minutes, the mother-daughter one-on-ones are imbued with These little things (1964) sung softly by Jane on a stage in Tokyo: Charlotte wonders about the modesty that exists between them – “I don’t know where it comes from… I don’t think you had the same with Lou and you had the same with Kate” – and Jane remembers the last time she asked to touch Charlotte’s chest, when she was 14 – “I thought you were so beautiful.” This very private aristocratic story, like a zest of Lemon Incest, is not intended to go beyond the particular to tell the mythology of filial relationships. The images of the pair even seem to tell us the opposite: look at these two creatures, they look at each other from every angle to understand the hand of the one who modeled them.

Dive into the subconscious

These between themselves, which only concern them and from which the close entourage is excluded (Lou, Charlotte’s sister, Yvan the husband, Ben the eldest son, Alice the middle daughter, etc.) except Joe, the youngest, whose the face is reminiscent of cheeky, satisfy our taste for celebrity photographs: appreciating Jane’s superb cottage in Lannilis (Finistère), knowing that she will soon be planting seeds of morning glory, examining the preparation of her peach pie, finding the address of her fishmonger. In short, what his marine days look like.

If these pieces of exhibition, often filmed during trips, could be repulsive, especially since they do not reveal any scoops, the impression of plunging into the subconscious of the holy Gainsbourg trinity has no not his equal and is self-sufficient. It is hard to imagine little Lindon signing a Sandrine by Suzanne or little Depp, a Vanessa by Lily-Rose. Because the film arouses an interest in psychoanalytic observation (all things considered): we miss nothing of all the little pebbles left, after Gainsbourg’s death, on the path of the two women, starting with Jane’s barbecue or the Charlotte bull terrier, exact copy of Nana (gift from Serge to Jane).

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