Jane and Charlotte Forever, a joint retrospective of the mother-daughter duo, will take place January 29 – February 7 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with the actresses in person. Fascinating, fearless, fiercely committed actresses, Jane Birkin and her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg have been at the vanguard of international cinema for over five decades. Taken together, their body of work is an astonishing, often provocative, and always bold survey of the last half-century of European cinema.

Bursting onto the scene with a much-talked-about cameo in Michelangelo Antonioni’s seminal Blow-Up (1966), the British-born Birkin went on to become an icon of cool through her association with legendary chanteur Serge Gainsbourg, and one of France’s most in-demand actresses, conveying a soulful vulnerability in her collaborations with directors like Jacques Rivette, Agnès Varda, and Jacques Doillon.

Like her mother, Charlotte Gainsbourg has built her career on adventurous roles for visionary auteurs, crafting a beguiling screen presence defined by an innate intelligence and a raw emotional intensity.

Opening the 19-film series is “An Evening with Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg,” featuring an intimate conversation in between screenings of Jacques Doillon’s La Pirate, starring Birkin, and Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, starring Gainsbourg.

Highlights include Serge Gainsbourg’s Charlotte For Ever, starring Charlotte at age 14; Jane B. for Agnès V., Varda’s kaleidoscopic consideration of the actress as a woman, wife, mother, muse, and icon; and Serge Gainsbourg’s arthouse-meets-trashploitation Je t’aime moi non plus, with Birkin and co-star Joe Dallesandro in person.

Additionally, on display in the Film Society’s Furman Gallery throughout the retrospective will be “Actresses by Kate Barry,” an exhibition of photographs by the late Kate Barry—daughter of Jane, half-sister of Charlotte, and formidable artist in her own right—presented in collaboration with the Institut Français in Paris.

Actresses by Kate Barry

Actresses by Kate Barry

Jane and Charlotte Forever was organized by Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan and the exhibition was organized by Florence Almozini and Rufus de Rham. Tickets go on sale Thursday, January 14, with early access for Film Society members beginning Monday, January 11. A $125 All Access Pass and a 3+ film discount package will be available.

Special thanks to Institut Français in Paris; Cultural Services of the French Embassy, New York; Kristy Matheson, Australian Centre for the Moving Image; Leslie Ricci; Olivier Gluzman. Hotel accommodations generously provided by Mandarin Oriental, New York.

An Evening with Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg:

Lars von Trier, Denmark/Germany/France/Sweden/Italy/Poland, 2009, 35mm, 108m
Lars von Trier’s ultra-violent Antichrist scandalized audiences upon its premiere at Cannes, where Charlotte Gainsbourg’s fearless performance won her the award for Best Actress. Divided into chapters and distilled through Anthony Dod Mantle’s downcast lensing, the film follows He and She, a grieving couple played by Willem Dafoe and Gainsbourg, who retreat to an isolated cabin after their infant’s death. But in seclusion their situation goes from bad to worse, as He becomes haunted by peculiar visions and She reveals violent sexual behavior that together crescendo to a harrowing climax. Antichrist is considered the first installment of von Trier’s unofficially titled “Depression Trilogy,” followed by Melancholia and Nymphomaniac—Gainsbourg appears in all three. An NYFF47 selection.
Friday, January 29, 4:00pm & 9:15pm (Introduction by Charlotte Gainsbourg before 9:15pm screening)

La Pirate
Jacques Doillon, France, 1984, 35mm, 88m
English and French with English subtitles
On a rain-slicked night, Alma (Jane Birkin), a married woman, is whisked away to a hotel by her female ex-lover (Maruschka Detmers). So begins a long night’s journey into extreme emotional violence, as the two women make love, quarrel, and confront their love-hate feelings for each other—a volatile situation that’s pushed into overdrive when Alma’s husband (played by Birkin’s brother, Andrew, in a bit of provocatively incestuous casting) shows up. Meanwhile, a mystery: just who is the gun-toting teenage girl and the oddball gentleman seemingly along for the ride? Stylish, sexy, and subtly surreal, this fever-pitch portrait of amour fou is bathed in shadowy neo-noir atmosphere courtesy of cinematographer extraordinaire Bruno Nuytten. Print courtesy of the Institut Français.
Friday, January 29, 6:30pm (Post-screening discussion with Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg)
Monday, February 1, 7:00pm

Antichrist. Image courtesy of The Kobal Collection / Zentropa Ents.

Antichrist. Image courtesy of The Kobal Collection/Zentropa Ents.


Boxes / Les Boites
Jane Birkin, France, 2007, 35mm, 95m
English and French with English subtitles
Jane Birkin wrote and directed this magical-realist memory piece, and the artistic freedom allows her to craft one of her most personal, touching performances. She plays a middle-aged woman settling into a new home by the sea. As she unpacks, she conjures memories of people from her past with whom she yearns for reconciliation: her father (Michel Piccoli), mother (Geraldine Chaplin), three daughters (real-life offspring Lou Doillon among them), and three ex-husbands. As a first-time director, Birkin displays an elegant, mature style, deftly handling the story’s dreamlike tonal shifts. The result is a cathartic emotional odyssey rife with intriguing autobiographical allusions.
Wednesday, February 3, 8:30pm

The Cement Garden
Andrew Birkin, France/Germany/UK, 1993, 35mm, 101m
Teen angst, incest, and… what exactly is buried in the basement? This macabre, compellingly bizarro coming-of-age tale charts the strange goings-on within a family living in an isolated, rubble-strewn no-man’s land. One day, as 15-year-old Jack (Andrew Robertson) masturbates, his father drops dead. Mother follows shortly thereafter. Rather than tell anyone, Jack and older sister Julie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) assume the roles of father and mother to their two younger siblings—but take things to the extreme. Based on Ian McEwan’s gothic novel, this should-be cult classic (directed by Gainsbourg’s uncle Andrew Birkin) is a gripping, wonderfully weird portrait of nontraditional family values.
Tuesday, February 2, 8:45pm
Thursday, February 4, 4:30pm

Charlotte For Ever
Serge Gainsbourg, France, 1986, 35mm, 94m
French with English subtitles
Two years after recording the notorious duet “Lemon Incest” with his daughter Charlotte, Serge Gainsbourg again courted controversy when he cast her at age 14 in this incest-tinged Lolita tale. He plays Stan, a washed-up screenwriter wallowing in despair and alcoholism after his wife’s death. His only meaningful relationship is with his teen daughter, whose budding sexuality proves a constant temptation. Abetted by Charlotte’s startlingly mature performance and Serge’s cool, breathy soundtrack, the daringly provocative Charlotte For Ever is an essential document in the boundary-pushing musician’s creation of his own mythology.
Friday, February 5, 6:30pm
Sunday, February 7, 4:15pm

Daddy Nostalgia / Daddy Nostalgie
Bertrand Tavernier, France, 1990, 35mm, 105m
English and French with English subtitles
Elegant and urbane, Tony (Dirk Bogarde in a feisty, charismatic performance) hasn’t been the best father to his spirited screenwriter daughter (Birkin). But now he is dying and, together again in a villa on the sunny Côte d’Azur, the two reconnect, discovering that they need each other now more than ever. As he regales her with recollections of his past, she drinks in his worldly joie de vivre, all the time aware that their days together are precious. Driven by the touching rapport between Birkin and Bogarde, this golden-hued mood piece is uncommonly graceful and wise in the way it illuminates the universal experience of letting go.
Thursday, February 4, 9:00pm
Sunday, February 7, 2:00pm

Jane B. par Agnès V. Image courtesy of Cinelicious Pics.

Jane B. for Agnès V. Image courtesy of Cinelicious Pics.

Jane B. for Agnès V. / Jane B. par Agnès V.
Agnès Varda, France, 1988, DCP, 97m
French with English subtitles
“It’s as if I was going to film your self-portrait,” explains godmother of the nouvelle vague Agnès Varda to Jane Birkin in this extraordinarily complex, kaleidoscopic consideration of the actress as a woman, wife, mother, muse, and icon. Varda intercuts footage of the “real” Birkin—lounging at home in a T-shirt, stripped of makeup, and discussing her desire to be filmed “as if I were transparent, anonymous, like everyone else”—with the Birkin of her (and our) fantasies, casting the actress in everything from re-creations of Renaissance portraiture to a heist thriller to a black-and-white Laurel & Hardy–esque short. The result is a thrillingly discursive reflection not only on the fascinating, multifaceted Birkin but on the sacred collaboration between actor and director. A Cinelicious Pics release.
Sunday, January 31, 6:30pm
Saturday, February 6, 8:30pm

Jane Eyre
Franco Zeffirelli, France/Italy/UK/USA, 1996, 35mm, 112m
English and French with English subtitles
Period-film maestro Franco Zeffirelli captures the brooding, gothic atmosphere of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel in this moody screen adaptation. As the titular heroine—who goes from spirited orphan to governess to lover of the dashingly romantic Rochester (William Hurt)—Charlotte Gainsbourg is soulful and sensitive, conveying both Jane’s sadness and defiant inner fire. Her performance sets the tone for a beautifully restrained, understated take on a beloved romance. The impressive supporting cast includes Fiona Shaw as Mrs. Reed, Joan Plowright as Mrs. Fairfax, and Anna Paquin as the young Jane.
Sunday, February 7, 6:30pm

Je t’aime moi non plus
Serge Gainsbourg, France, 1976, 35mm, 89m
French with English subtitles
Serge Gainsbourg directed this arthouse-meets-trashploitation wild ride through 1970s America—part queer road movie, part gonzo romance. Warhol Superstar Joe Dallesandro stars as a gay garbage-truck driver who falls (kind of) for Birkin’s tomboyish whistle-stop waitress. But consummating the new relationship proves… problematic. Gainsbourg displays a striking visual dynamism via the freewheeling, fluid camerawork, while making the most of the infamously racy title track in this sexually delirious ode to America’s heartland, as seen by France’s most outré provocateur. Look out for a surprise appearance from Gérard Depardieu.
Saturday, January 30, 6:30pm (Q&A with Jane Birkin and Joe Dallesandro)

Kung Fu Master! / Le petit amour
Agnès Varda, France, 1988, DCP, 80m
English and French with English subtitles
In one of her finest, most vulnerable performances, Jane Birkin is a 40-year-old divorcée who falls in love with her daughter’s 14-year-old, video-game-obsessed classmate (Mathieu Demy, son of director Agnès Varda and filmmaker Jacques Demy). This eyebrow-raising premise is presented with surprising sympathy and tenderness, a radical challenge to audience identification and an all-too-rare exploration of female subjectivity. Throughout, Varda interweaves snapshots of the AIDS crisis, adding a pointed sociopolitical subtext to this one-of-a-kind romance. Based on an original story by Birkin, Kung Fu Master! is a true family affair, with the actress’ daughters (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon), parents, and brother all appearing alongside her. A Cinelicious Pics release.
Sunday, January 31, 9:00pm
Friday, February 5, 4:30pm

L'effrontée. Image courtesy of The Kobal Collection / Oliane/A2.

L’Effrontée. Image courtesy of The Kobal Collection/Oliane/A2.

Claude Miller, France, 1985, 35mm, 96m
French with English subtitles
Charlotte Gainsbourg, who won the César Award for Most Promising Actress, conveys a nuance and sensitivity beyond her years in this tender coming-of-age drama inspired by Carson McCullers’s classic novel The Member of the Wedding. She stars as Charlotte, a precocious 13-year-old who chafes at the drab reality of her school and home life. When a child prodigy pianist (Clothilde Baudon) comes to town, Charlotte develops an all-consuming fascination with the girl, whose life—worldly, glamorous, exciting—is everything hers is not. A frank, keenly observed portrait of female adolescence, L’Effrontée captures both the heartache and wonder of growing up. An NYFF23 selection.
Sunday, January 31, 2:00pm
Tuesday, February 2, 4:30pm

The Little Thief / La petite voleuse
Claude Miller, France, 1988, 35mm, 109m
French with English subtitles
Based on a story by François Truffaut (who died before he could direct it) and Claude de Givray, this post–World War II portrait of wayward youth plays not unlike a female-driven version of The 400 Blows. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars as the titular kleptomaniac, a distaff Antoine Doinel who, with her bad-boy lover, descends into a life of crime before landing in a hellish reformatory. Reunited with L’Effrontée director Claude Miller, Gainsbourg (who was nominated for a Best Actress César Award) delivers a fascinatingly enigmatic performance, at once open and opaque. With The Little Thief she blossomed into a truly compelling screen presence.
Sunday, January 31, 4:15pm
Thursday, February 4, 2:00pm

Love on the Ground / L’amour par terre
Jacques Rivette, France, 1984, 35mm, 125m
French with English subtitles
This overlooked jewel from French New Wave titan Jacques Rivette is a beguiling mystery about the riddles of love and art. Jane Birkin and Geraldine Chaplin star as actresses recruited by an enigmatic playwright (Jean-Pierre Kalfon) to star in a new work that will take place in his outrageously decorated mansion. But as life imitates art and vice versa, the two women find themselves drawn into a bizarre love quadrangle in a house haunted by the specter of a mystery woman. Rivette’s pet themes—acting, magic, female friendship—are all explored in one of the director’s most engaging, emotionally complex films. An NYFF22 selection.
Wednesday, February 3, 4:00pm
Friday, February 5, 8:30pm

Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany, 2011, 35mm, 135m
The end of the world—and the collapse of the spirit—has scarcely been depicted as beautifully and wrenchingly as in Melancholia. The title refers both to a destructive planet “that has been hiding behind the sun” and the crippling depression of new bride Justine (a revelatory Kirsten Dunst, winner of the Best Actress award at Cannes that year), whose mental illness is so severe that she drives away her groom during their disastrous wedding reception. As the extinction of the planet looms ever larger, Justine is desperately tended to by her sister, Claire, an equally magnificent Charlotte Gainsbourg. Having gone to extremes with von Trier in Antichrist, Gainsbourg once again descends into the atmosphere of despair and becomes gripped by her anxiety over the world’s impending doomsday, making the film’s final otherworldly moments ache with forlornness. An NYFF49 selection.
Sunday, February 7, 9:00pm

My Wife Is an Actress / Ma femme est une actrice
Yvan Attal, France, 2001, 35mm, 95m
English and French with English subtitles
Charlotte Gainsbourg’s longtime partner, actor-director Yvan Attal, established himself as something of a Gallic Woody Allen with this breezy, hilarious romantic comedy. He appears as a neurotic sportswriter consumed with jealousy when his famous actress wife (Gainsbourg) is cast opposite a silver-fox leading man (Terence Stamp) in a steamy love story—a situation that’s not helped when he walks in on them rehearsing a sex scene. Gamely playing heightened versions of themselves, Gainsbourg and Attal generate irresistible chemistry, while the autobiographical overtones make this a fascinatingly personal glimpse into the perils of life in the public eye.
Monday, February 1, 9:00pm
Wednesday, February 3, 2:00pm



La Piscine
Jacques Deray, France/Italy, 1969, 35mm, 120m
French with English subtitles
Sexual tension simmers on the French Riviera in this echt-’60s, Euro-chic erotic thriller. Jane Birkin stars alongside Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, and Maurice Ronet as a quartet of tanned, toned, beautiful people who spend their summer swimming, lounging poolside, and trysting with one another amid the crystal-blue waters of the Côte d’Azur. But jealousy and a creeping sense of unease gradually infect their languorous idyll—erupting one evening with a shocking act of violence. Director Jacques Deray and co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière deliver a sultry, sun-baked master class in slow-burn suspense. Print courtesy of the Institut Français.
Saturday, February 6, 6:00pm

The Prodigal Daughter / La fille prodigue
Jacques Doillon, France, 1981, 35mm, 95m
French with English subtitles
Jane Birkin delivers a daring performance in this emotionally charged psychological drama. She stars as Anne, a disturbed young woman who leaves her husband and returns home to her parents. But when she discovers that her father (the great Michel Piccoli) is having an affair, the possessive Anne is pushed over the edge. Directed by Birkin’s then-partner Jacques Doillon, this taboo-shattering exploration of father-daughter relationships marked a decisive turning point in Birkin’s career. As she stated, “It was the first time that someone making so-called ‘intellectual’ films thought of me… I made La fille prodigue, and was then regarded as a serious actress in France.” The moody lensing is courtesy of renowned cinematographer Pierre Lhomme (Army of Shadows).
Thursday, February 4, 7:00pm

The Science of Sleep / La science des rêves
Michel Gondry, France/Italy, 2006, 35mm, 106m
English, French, and Spanish with English subtitles
Based on a bedtime story written by a 10-year-old, Michel Gondry’s wondrous romantic fantasy is a surrealist’s delight and a love letter to the infinite possibilities of cinema. Gael García Bernal plays Stéphane, a charmingly and sometimes alarmingly awkward young man who arrives in Paris from Mexico following the death of his father. There, he strikes up a flirtation with the girl across the hall (Charlotte Gainsbourg)—but things go off-the-walls awry when Stéphane’s dreams begin to intrude on his reality. Gondry unleashes a grab bag of eye-popping cinematic tricks—ingeniously handmade puppet creations, stop-motion flights of fancy, and gizmos like a one-second time machine—to evoke the crazy-quilt logic of the unconscious.
Tuesday, February 2, 6:30pm

Pierre Grimblat, France, 1969, digital projection, 90m
French and Italian with English subtitles
The film that established Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg as the “it” couple of the era, this très groovy time capsule follows a 40-year-old commercial director (Gainsbourg) as he pursues a fling with an 18-year-old British ingénue (Birkin). The two embark on a torrid love affair that takes them from Venice to London to Paris and back, an irreverently funny, breathlessly paced tour of Swinging Sixties Europe. The mod decor and loungy soundtrack offer pleasures aplenty, but the real attraction is Birkin and Gainsbourg. Oozing chemistry and cool, they’re Exhibit A in effortless Gallic chic.
Saturday, January 30, 9:30pm (Introduction by Jane Birkin)

Actresses by Kate Barry
“Actresses by Kate Barry” showcases the photography of Kate Barry, Jane Birkin’s daughter with composer John Barry. This exhibition is a simultaneous tribute by Barry, who tragically died in December 2013, to film actresses, and French film actresses in particular—from well-known stars to new talents. Produced by Institut Français in cooperation with Roman de Kermadec, curated by journalist and photographer Aline Arlettaz. With the support of the Embassy of France, USA. Special thanks to Institut Français in Paris.
On Display in the Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater, January 28 – February 10