donderdag 27 april 2006

Les Inrocks ROCKS!

Congrats to Filles Sourires, 'cause this blog is in the 50 Best Blogs-list of Les Inrocks (thanks Ron Infirmier, and congrats to you too, for letting me know). Somebody able to either scan the page, or email me what Les Inrock writes about FS?

woensdag 26 april 2006

Project Cinema (11): Romy

"Sissi just sticks to me just like oatmeal", is a famous quote by Romy Schneider. Born Rosemarie Magdelena Albach-Retty in Vienna, she made her acting debut on stage by the side of her mother (like her father an actor too). In 1955 the world fell in love with her, when she played empress-to-be Sissi in the first of three films about the Austrian royal. From that point on, she tried to break away from her saccharine image by taking parts in sombre films like Christine (where she met fiancé Alain Delon), The Process (dir. Orson Welles) and Visconti's Ludwig.
Her life was filled with tragedy: she was dumped by Delon, first husband Henry Meyen committed suicide after the divorce, her son David got into a fatal accident and she got addicted to alcohol in her final years. Officially, she died because of cardiac arrest, but rumour has it she commited suicide. Knowing this, I can only see oceans of schmerz in her eyes.
On a lighter note, she sang as well. In what I think is her best movie, Les Choses De La Vie (although it's been a while since I saw it, or any movie with Schneider in it for that matter), her melancholic, Hardy-like voice is perfect for La Chanson d'Helene, a duet with Michel Piccoli. And for Max & Les Ferrailleurs she sang a short a-capella song in German. Props to composer Philip Sarde too.

Romy Schneider & Michel Piccoli - La Chanson d'Helene
Romy Schneider - Lily et Max

dinsdag 25 april 2006

Project Cinema (10): Valerie

Another guest-selection, this time my longtime pal Erwin muses on Valerie Lagrange:

Valerie Lagrange (born Danièle Chadelaud) never played world renowned leading parts in her long lasting cinematic career. Though she appeared in some classic films, notably Fellini’s Satyricon, Godards’ Weekend, Rosine’s Les Idoles and – great acting - Un Homme et une Femme by Claude Lelouch. Lagrange also sang Gainsbourg, stood on the barricades in may 1968, has in short a long and ongoing history of re-inventing herself (thanks to Biolay).

La Folie. This tune first entered my life whilst doing homework on the odd Tuesday afternoon, mid 1980’s; back then to me it seemed to echo the complete state of boredom the world had been in ever since high school began; that quaint Fender Rhodes-motif flashlighting between a slaughtering beat droning from the one brain half to the other, this bleaky funk rhythm guitar lost in a forest of Korg, Roland and Linn Drum…wake up man, this is the eighties! I bought the 7-inch single later on a jumble sale, grey sleeve, grey label – a souvenir of grey days indeed.
She sings coolly about this girl from the city who thinks she has all the answers, life in the fast lane, doing drugs, crazy stuff, you know. Some coked sax playing, mind you. Who’s that girl anyway? The dreary image I had turned into something completely different when I witnessed a group of ‘beautiful’ people living it up one night to this song played in an Italian discotheque, amongst them the topic of La Folie, you know, Alizée in Wonderland. Now it’s not grey anymore, it’s party time!

Valerie Lagrange - La Folie

More Valerie, thanks to Skunkeye:

Valerie Lagrange - La Prière (George Brassens-cover)
Valerie Lagrange - Mon Amour Pour Toi

maandag 24 april 2006

Project Cinema (9): Anna

An extensive. mouthwatering guest-selection by copain Skunkeye:
Danish transplant Anna Karina is perhaps the ultimate voice and face of the French Nouvelle Vague. Iconographic as the muse and leading actress of Jean-Luc Godard's post-Breathless (À bout de souffle) primordial masterpieces, including Vivre Sa Vie, Pierrot le Fou and Alphaville, the dangerously beautiful and beguiling Karina appeared in various international productions throughout the late 60s and 70s (including the ill-fated George Cukor meets camels extravaganza, Justine – based on my fave Durrell's literary quartet) but somehow wasn't able to capitalize and expand on her talents effectively during the ensuing generations.

Anna Karina has always been my number one babe. Filles Sourires aficionados most likely know her charged Roller Girl and the lovely songs she animated on the legendary Serge Gainsbourg-scored French telepic, Anna. The legendary Karina most recently made a brief cameo, as a rather heated chanteuse during a nightclub scene in Jonathan Demme's New Wave inspired, but ultimately unsuccessful, re-working of the Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn vehicle, Charade, this time called the Truth About Charlie, and inexplicably headlining Marky Mark (but Thandie Newton plays well). The soundtrack rocks, though, and reflects the pervasive multicultural sensibilities of le Moyen Paris.

Back to my babe Anna Karina, here are two tracks from Antoine Duhamel's breathtaking soundtrack to Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou, the poignant and timeless Jamias je ne t'ai dit que je t'aimerai toujours (a mon amour) (quel mouthful!) and the rather disposable but charming Mic & Mac.

Philippe Katerine, purveyor of good taste, collaborated with Anna Karina at the turn of the turn of the last century, and the results yielded the torchy and jazz-inflected Une Histoire de L'amour. Madame Anna Karina revisited her signature chanson and turned in some nice duets with her youngish partner in crime. Its worth noting the that the timbre in the icon's voice has dropped dramatically (ala Marianne Faithfull) and that presumed years of hard living have resulted in a poignant delivery.

Supposing life is a cabaret, here is a reflective revisiting of Jamais je ne t'ai dit que..., a rompy duet with Katerine, Aimons L'amour, and a possibly auto-biographical torch-song, Anne Karine.

Anna Karina - Jamais je ne t'ai dit que je t'aimerai toujours (a mon amour)
Anna Karina - Mic & Mac
Anna Karina & Katerine - Jamais je ne t'ai dit que je t'aimerai toujours (a mon amour)
Anna Karina - Aimons L'Amour
Anna Karina - Anne Karine

zondag 23 april 2006

Project Cinema (8): Joanna

Guest-selector Skye unearthed two real gems:

She had the looks of a Francoise Hardy with sex: Canadian born actress Joanna Shimkus, who appeared in only two handful of movies (after those, Sidney Poitier married her right from the spot). Robert Enrico’s classic Les Aventuriers (1967) made her immortal: a melancholy ménage a trois with her torn between Delon and Lino Ventura, the finest romantic triangle movie of them all, miles above and lots more fun than Truffaut’s Jules et Jim. The soundtrack is by composer wizard Francois de Roubaix, kind of a French Morricone of the 60s who scored most gallic noir movies of the time, an artist of pure genius who drowned near Tenerife in 1975. Joanna’s probably only recorded song is a tune from Les Aventuriers, but not in the (strictly instrumental scored) movie – a wonderfully laid-back campfire version, simply irresistible.

Joanna Shimkus - Les Aventuriers
UPDATE: apparently, Joanna sang in more films. From another François de Roubaix compilation, here's a song from the movie Tante Zita:

Joanna Shimkus - Loin

Another fine example of Roubaix’s skills is a rarely known collaboration with La Bardot, undoubtedly one of her most extraordinaire achievements. Both songs are from Francois de Roubaix, Anthologie Vol. 2 (Play Time Records, Paris, 2000).

Brigitte Bardot - Ecoute les Tempes

zaterdag 22 april 2006

Project Cinema (7): Emmanuelle

Natasja Vermeer is her name, the latest actress to appear in the role of the infamous Emmanuelle. Just as Sylvia Kristel, mother to all Emmanuelle's, Natasja is Dutch, and just as Sylvia Kristel, she sings. Kristel appeared on a Blue Note-album (no less) made by dj Eddy de Clercq (the one who introduced Holland to house-music), Natasja sang on a Emmanuelle-themed lounge-compilation by Claude Challe.
Emmanuelle must be one of the most profitable sex franchises out there, Serge Gainsbourg contributed a soundtrack (as you know he would). Even George Lazenby (one-time James Bond) appeared in one. Lots of actresses played the role of Emmanuelle, but Kristel's the most famous - I remember vividly seeing the first Emmanuelle-movie on Dutch national tv when I was a teenager, blocking the crack under the door so my parents couldn't see I was watching tv at night. Ah, nostalgia.

Natasja Vermeer - Emmanuelle
Serge Gainsbourg - Goodbye Emmanuelle

Speaking of Dutch women who made a name for themselves via sex; let's not forget happy hooker Xaviera Hollander. Yes, she appeared in movies and she made a couple of albums. Here her butcher the Beatles (and singing in French):

Xaviera Hollander - Michelle

vrijdag 21 april 2006

Project Cinema (6): Sheila

(this is a restored post)

More on Sheila and François Ozon from guest-selector Sir Edward (Maks, you paying attention?):

Sheila is one of France music’s industry brightest diamonds, who sold the most records between 1960-2000, bar Johnny Halliday. In 1963, aged 16, she entered the heart of France with L’école est finie, 1966 saw L’heure de la sortie, 1967 saw Sheila acting in her first movie Bang Bang, performing an achingly beatiful violin-driven version of the Sonny Bonno-written
song Bang Bang’(My Baby Shot me down), most famous in Nancy Sinatra’s rendition.

When, in his movie 8 Femmes, Ozon made Ludivine Seigner do a version of Sheila’s song Papa, t’es plus dans le coup, he maybe was returning the favour for using Sheila’s version of Bang Bang to this courting-scene of his acclaimed 1996 shortfilm Une Robe d’été. A film about two gay lovers, one is seduced by a girl, she gives him her dress as a remembrance, and the other one is turned on by his boyfriend in the dress.

Nevertheless, something very suitable to illustrate Sheila’s presumed status as an icon of gay France, aswell as her triumph trough the 70’ies disco-age, having a killer success with Spacer alongside producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (Chic) and the (not so cool) Black Devotion-band, a song which recently got ripped off for the infamous Cryin’ at the discotheque by Swedish Alcazar. Just as Bang Bang got treated by British Audio Bullys. If ever a fatwa is due.

Sheila - Bang Bang
Sheila & Black Devotion - Spacer

woensdag 19 april 2006

Project Cinema (5): Ludivine

Second guest-selection for Project Cinema is made by hotelier Maks:

The first time I saw a movie directed by François Ozon (Gouttes D'eau Sur Pierres Brûlantes, 2000) was the first time I saw the French actress Ludivine Sagnier. Fascinated by this weird movie I started to watch more Ozon screenplays and was surprised with the variety of genres he had directed, but also to see Mme. Sagnier appear in quite a few more Ozon movies. Ludivine seemed to be a kind of muse to him and I slowly began to get jealous.

Ozon's international break-through movie was Swimming Pool (2003) with again Ludivine in a main role. It wasn't a surprise that 2003 also became Sagnier's break-through year with two films at the famous Cannes Film Festival: La Petite Lili and Swimming Pool. But just one year earlier she starred in '8 Femmes', also directed by Ozon. Sagnier won the Romy Schneider Award for it, an award for the most promising young French actress. 8 Femmes is a most hilarious sort of Agatha Christie murder mystery with musical interruptions. The movie had a superb cast with seven other French woman: good old Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Emmanuelle Béart, Firmine Richard, Virginie Ledoyen, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert.

Back to the musical interruptions. The soundtrack contains one song sung by Ludivine: Papa T'es Plus Dans Le Coup, an extraordinary sixties track. Unfortunately it's the only recording by Sagnier as far as I know, but hey, it does sound great!
To make it up to you I also traced the original track by Tonia, a Belgium yeye-girl who recorded it back in 1963 Sheila (see comments below).

Now for all the men out there that dreamt steamy dreams about Ludivine: you're a little late now. Last year Sagnier gave birth to her daughter Bonnie with French actor Nicolas Duvauchelle after which she she stated that "there very well might be less nudity in future roles".
Well, we didn't watch her movies only for her physics anyway, did we?

Ludivine Sagnier - Papa T'es Plus Dans Le Coup
Sheila - Papa T'es Plus Dans Le Coup

Project Cinema (4): Julie

First of a few guest-selectors on Project Cinema is stingykid Adriana, who has a knack for Julie Delpy:

French-born actress Julie Delpy began her film career with a small role in Goddard's Détective and has gone on to star in Europa Europa, Kieslowski's Trois couleurs: Blanc, and Killing Zoe. But she's best known on my side of the Atlantic as the alluring and articulate French grad student Celine in Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The latter features three songs from her 2003 eponymous album, Julie Delpy.

Delpy has been living in the US since 1990, and with the exception of Je t'aime tant and Time to Wake Up, the album is sung in English. The Before Sunrise and Before Sunset soundtrack arguably includes the best tracks from the album (I've included two of the three below) but all of Julie Delpy is worth a listen. Delpy's confident singing voice rises above the occasional clumsy lyric, and her subtle French accent is incredibly endearing. The songs cover a lot of emotional ground and are beautifully orchestrated and arranged by producer-composer Philippe Eidel.

Julie Delpy - Je t'aime Tant
Julie Delpy - An Ocean Apart

See Julie sing via YouTube.

maandag 17 april 2006

Project Cinema (3): Jeanne

As an actress, Jeanne Moreau is like a fata morgana: you know it's not there, but you sure want to believe so. Make-believe was her trade, and she mastered it in films like Jules et Jim, Les Valseuses and Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud - although I must say I liked the soundtrack to the latter better than the movie itself. The daughter of a chorus girl, Moreau was a leading actress at the Théâtre Nationale Populaire before she made her name in movies. She had acted regularly in movies since 1948, but she was thirty before the Nouvelle Vague found a proper use for her, or saw that she was deeply attractive and animated. She is an icon of the sixties, thanks to Truffaut and Malle.
And ofcourse, she sang. With Brigitte Bardot for instance, in the movie Viva Maria. And with Yves Duteil, in a beautiful duet.'

Brigitte Bardot & Jeanne Moreau - Les Petites Femmes
Yves Duteil & Jeanne Moreau - L'Adolescente

(merci à Ron Infirmier for sending me the mp3's)

Project Cinema (2): Isabelle

She already sang on tv, en duo with Jacques Higelin, before she debuted on vinyl as a singer. Gorgeous Isabelle Adjani was a very succesful actress in France when Serge, inbetween his own filming career, wrote a whole album for her with tragic lovesongs; Pull Marine. It features very Gainsbourgian titles like Beau Oui Come Bowie and Entre Autre pas en Traitre. At the same time, Serge wrote 11 songs for Jane too, which probably is why a lot of the songs sound a bit the same. The title track Pull Marine was a huge chart-success, thanks to the surreal videoclip made by Luc Besson.
Adjani's best known films outside France are Camille Claudel, La Reine Margot (her best) and Diabolique. She was nominated for an Oscar in 1981 (for Truffaut's L'Histoire d'Adèle H.) and had tempestuous relationships with Daniel-Day Lewis and Jean-Michel Jarre - the latter cheated on her with actress Anne Parillaud. I think she made an album as well...

Isabelle Adjani - Pull Marine
Isabelle Adjani - Je t'aime Idiot

zaterdag 15 april 2006

Project Cinema (1): Emmanuelle

Time for another project, or series, on Filles Sourires: for the next couple of weeks I will post only songs by French actresses (or songs by actresses sung in French). Tips (and mp3's) are more than welcome.

Let's kick off with Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of controversial director Roman Polanski and star of movies like Frantic, Bitter Moon (both directed by Polanski) and Body to Body. For the movie Backstage, she sang songs written by Marine Bercot, sister of director Emmanuelle Bercot and a singer in her own right. The film's about a young girl who's besotted by pop-singer Lauren Waks (Seigner). 'Gradually their lives intertwine as, with near-operatic intensity, the film delves into the emotional dependency on both sides of celebrity culture', to quote - be sure to check the user comment on that site too.
As we will see in the upcoming posts, French actresses usually cannot sing, a minor problem if you look and act the way French actresses (especially in this case) do. Their husky, little-girl like voices also help a lot.
On the Backstage o.s.t. Seigner sings about ten songs. Most of them are so-so, but the two posted here, and especially Suis Moi, are quite good.

Emmanuelle Seigner - Je Prie Pour Nous
Emmanuelle Seigner - Suis Moi

dinsdag 11 april 2006


This Sunday, a real legend will play at the Amsterdam Beatclub: Tunis-born Jacqueline Taïeb, who got famous thanks to the stomping 7 Heures Du Matin (from 1967), but wrote a bunch of songs for Yves Montand, Michel Fugain, Maurane, Jeane Manson, Stone, Dave, Fabienne Thibault and Dana Dawson too. As her website states, at nearly 60 years old she's still l’objet d’un véritable culte in cities all over the world. I know rock'n roll legend Wanda Jackson can still set stages on fire, I wonder if Jacqueline is able to do the same - anyone heard her 'new' album Jacqueline Taïeb is back?
This show (where Natachka will be dj'ing) is the kick-off to a whole week of French live-shows in Holland; on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20th of April, R&B/Soul-singer Anggun, flamenco-hero Thierry Robin and partyhardy-gang Les Blerots de RAVEL will be playing in the Melkweg and Nighttown. And, ofcourse, on Sunday April 23 not only the charming Myrtille will play @ the Amsterdam Odeon Theater, Natashka and yours truly are dj'ing afterwards, courtesy of the Putumayo label, who are presenting their Paris-cd.
On y va?

Jacqueline Taïeb - Le Printemps à Paris
Anggun - Un de Toi
Myrtille - L'echo

zondag 9 april 2006

Tout Doux

Edmond V. not only mailed me both the Drapeau Noir-versions (see below), but also a live rendition (radio-recording) of a song that I was looking for really bad: Tout Doucement by Vincent Delerm and Keren Ann. People who think Keren (pictured right) can ony sing sad, depressed songs, should listen to the playful, teasing way she sings this Bibie-cover with chansonnier Delerm.
First I thought Tout Doucement was a Blossom Dearie-cover, Feist did that one on her succesful Let It Die album. But as said, Vincent & Keren do the one by Bibie. There are more songs with Tout Doucement in the title, like this one. And this one.

Keren Ann & Vincent Delerm - Tout Doucement
Bibie - Tout Doucement (merci à Wouter & Natachka for sending me this mp3)

Feist - Tout Doucement
Blossom Dearie - Tout Doucement


When I get an e-mail from FS-fan Edmond V., I know I'm in for a treat. This time he's send me a song by the lovely Mireille Darc, ex-madame Alain Delon, ex-model and actress in movies like Borsalino, Fantasia chez les ploucs and Il était un foi un flic. That last movie was directed by Georges Lautner, Darc often interpreted the charming silly French girl in his films - she appeared in ten of his movies. Serge Gainsbourg, ofcourse, was surely not indifferent to her charms (when Brigitte Bardot begged him not to release their Je t'aime-version, he offered to redo it with Darc), which is why he wrote Le drapeau noir and Helicoptère for her. He sang the first song himself later for a Martini-commercial.

Mireille Darc - Le Drapeau Noir
Mireille Darc - Helicoptère
Serge Gainsbourg- Le Drapeau Noir

zaterdag 8 april 2006


You gotta hand it to Naïve, they seem to uncover a beautiful female singer almost every month. This time, it's Brazilian born
Aline de Lima, who probably got her first name thanks to a French singer who, at the time of her birth, had a hit that included the words "Et j'ai crié, crié, Aline." In 1988, she moved to Stockholm, and after that to Paris. Her album Arrebol is rich in Brazilian heritage, with bossa nova's and MPB references. It was produced by Vinicius Cantuaria, who got stringmeister Marc Ribot on board. All songs are in Portuguese, 'cept for one: Barbara's Septembre. A beautiful, understated rendition full of saudade.

Aline de Lima - Septembre.

The song after which Aline was named, is probably best known in the version of Adamo. It was translated to Portuguese, and here's a great, high-drama version by Agnaldo Timoteo.

Agnaldo Timoteo - Aline

dinsdag 4 april 2006


If you look at the pictures on her site, you might think that Klemence (née Clemence) from Versailles is just another lounge-singer. Nice dresser, great hair, but probably working her way through the Great American Songbook every night. Well, you're wrong. Ami Ami is a breezy, at times gripping collection of folky acoustic songs. My guess is that the songs are self-penned, or made in collaboration with musical partner Marlene - she duets with her a few times. It doesn't say so in her bio, actually very little is revealed on Klemence, apart from her concerts (one stint in Holland, no less) and her collaboration with Michel Fugain.
It might be me, but I wasn't able to find more info on the web.
That leaves the album, which I got via Le Radiophone. If you know more about Klemence, please share!

Klemence - Ami Ami
Klemence - Saint Tropez

zondag 2 april 2006


Vanessa Contenay-Quinones, with a name and looks like that, I'm sold. She used to be a dance-diva, released two albums under the Espiritu-moniker and worked with Tom Middleton, A Guy Called Gerald and Jon Carter's Monkey Mafia. After that, she recorded with none other than Lou Reed, and met with Swedish production team Andreas Mattson and Niclas Frisk, who persuaded her to make a dreamy, indierock take on French sixties-pop. Guitarplayer James Iha (ex-Smashing Pumpkins) got onboard of Vanessa and the O's, their first album La Ballade d'O (released in 2005, and to be re-released later this year) refers to Velvet Underground, Stereolab and Dutronc-ish ye-ye pop. Love her husky voice, and the big, widescreen guitars. Check her MySpace-site to for the video to Charlie Charlie.

Vanessa and the O's - Charlie Charlie
Vanessa and the O's - Cruels et Tendres

(merci á Joris Stereo)