CRITICAL – A very beautiful intimate portrait signed Didier Varrod where the muse of Gainsbourg, Doillon and Chéreau is revealed like never before. Jane Birkin and us, a documentary not to be missed, Friday September 16 at 9:10 p.m. on France 3.
All her life, Jane Birkin will have run at a run. “As soon as I touched French soil, everything was permitted. I felt free." she says in great shape, sitting in front of a big screen. We are in July 2021, two months before the stroke which will force him to rest. A year later, in mid-September, she goes back on stage and ensures the release of her integral. At 75, Jane Birkin sees herself again on her arrival in Paris at the end of the 1960s. Of a devastating beauty, she sways between Michel Sardou and Jacques Dutronc. The 90 minutes of this documentary by Didier Varrod pass quickly as the star multiplies the anecdotes in front of the Super 8 films taken from his personal archives. Ex-fan of the sixties, 69 year erotic… Serge Gainsbourg's songs punctuate the story.
His childhood: “The most sublime moment of his existence”
Delicately, the director draws the thread of his life, that of a young girl born in England who becomes an actress and singer without ever managing to be recognized in her country of origin. We feel the wound as it evokes Great Britain. “She discovered this film during the editing and was very moved, says Didier Varrod. She said to me: “This is the film that I would like the English to see. Let them finally know who I am.” Private life, professional life, she avoids no subject. With Serge Gainsbourg, she discovered physical pleasure. Of his childhood, "the most sublime moment of his existence", she retains the games with her brother Andrew and her sister Linda. Already running on the beach, discovering treasures in the abandoned houses of the Isle of Wight. His parents? “Exquisite heroes.” The images of the Second World War parade in black and white. On stage in London, his mother, Judy Campbell, sings under the bombs. Commander of the Royal Navy, his father, David, transports mysterious passengers between the English coasts and Brittany. "At night, despite the rocks, and even in winter", emphasizes his daughter. And to add with unexpected emancipation: “My mother was bullied in her professional life. New York demanded it, my father refused.
Fear of deception
The boarding school where she was sent at the age of 12 marked her. Alongside her stuffed monkey, she writes her diary. “The monkey is in Montparnasse with Serge. Andrew was angry with me for burying our childhood,” she confides. The following images are incredible: in 1963, hidden behind a window of the family home, Andrew has the reflex to film John Barry, who has come to ask for the hand of 17-year-old Jane. John Barry leaves victorious in his Jaguar with his beauty. David Birkin watches them go away with a sad look. World star of film music, Barry composes for James Bond, whose Goldfinger. She becomes a "girl in" who hangs out with his friends, including Michael Caine and David Bailey. “I was a nymphet who had nothing to say. When Antonioni offered me a naked role in Blow Up, John Barry said to me, “You can never.” I made the film only to prove to him that yes. When Kate is finally born, he cheats on her. "I made the mistake of leaving the marital home, I got nothing." She will then decide to“be more daring”. Goes alone to Paris. She mischievously recounts her meeting with Gainsbourg and the filming of The swimming pool, which allows him to stay in France. Songs, cinema, theatre, she shaped a rich career. Nevertheless, she constantly fears imposture. "When are they going to see that it's not based on anything? On which film, which concert, will it fall? Having become an icon should reassure her, but no: "In the street, people tell me that I'm pretty, and to my daughter Lou Doillon: 'I love what you write.' I would so much like to be told that rather than “you are pretty”. In early 1991, when Serge Gainsbourg and his father died four days apart, she was lost. In 2010, the death of Kate is another turning point. Looking straight into the camera, she says: “Everything stopped like clockwork. Getting sick was welcome. When you're so tired, cancer doesn't seem like such a big deal."