Her desires, her family, her career … An intimate conversation with Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg, it is perhaps this alchemical principle which, in us, wants to resist the law of the day. Which begs that, despite the years that go by, the child’s voice will never be silent in us. That she continues to fall, as said Louis-René of Forests “Like a gift from heaven giving dry words the sparkle of its laughter, the salt of its tears, its all-powerful savagery” – all of which the gray assignment to an adult identity leads us, too often, to renounce . One day, I am 10 years old. In the bathroom of a building which happens to be, by objective coincidence, one street away from this hotel, my best friend and I, we cut each other, with scissors, a long fringe in the manner of L’Effrontée. Scandal. Slap. Much later, two scenes, torturing, one in Antichrist of Lars from Trier, the other in “volume II” of Nymphomaniac, have returned me to the most harrowing, terrible and savage of maternal ambivalence. When I ask her if, for these scenes, like this moment when Suzanna Andler says that things came apart after the birth of her daughter, she uses this complexity of what it means to be a woman while being a woman. mother, Charlotte Gainsbourg replies: “When I was little – she laughs, recovers – when I was very young and I was shooting my first films, each scene of tears had to be conditioned by something very personal. I brought up tears as I thought about my father’s death when he wasn’t dead. “Silence. Then: “Today, I don’t approach things in the same way. I don’t need to remember personal things. Everything is there, yes, but there is nothing to think about. “

Images pass behind my eyes. An interview, on the television news of Bernard Rapp, in 1985, where petrified with stage fright, Charlotte Gainsbourg answers, in an inaudible voice, to the interviewer who asks her, with the air of a lady patroness: “But when you sing with your dad, it’s easier or better. is more difficult? – It’s neither … It’s … When I did that, I didn’t ask myself if it was difficult or easy. I did this for him. To be with him. “

Sentences come to mind, his words speaking of the Montparnasse cemetery “where are now all those I love and in which I often go for a walk”. I can’t tell him that to go to my father’s grave – and all the other members of my family who, over the years, have piled up there – I always walk past his grave. I can only say to him: “There is an expression that I hate, it is ‘to mourn’, I find it abject. And I think you do too. She nods, “Yes, she’s horrible.” And there is something else that I hate is when instead of saying “death” we talk about “death”, to hide the truth. “

“For my father,” she continues, “I didn’t do it, my mourning. For my sister, things turned out differently, because I talked about it, and then I chose to leave. She says after her father died, she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t leave. Wherever she went, her songs were playing all the time, on the radio, in taxis. It was unbearable. Even today, she does not want to hear his voice. No song. No TV show. Nothing. Never. “After his death, everything fell apart for a very long time. ” For how long ? ” Long time. Joy returned with the birth of my first child. She pauses. Then: “Yes, maybe recently, I’ve heard her voice, once or twice. My children wanted to know who their grandfather was. They began to listen to him. I noticed it, walked into the room, stopped, and I too listened, barely two seconds, just to see, but not for long. “

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