Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg, born 1971 to the United Kingdom.

There is currently a spectrum that exists on my mind on her character, although I have only seen two films she acted in. My first exposure to Gainsbourg was through Science of Sleep, a 2006 Fantasy Drama directed by Michel Gondry portraying Charlotte, or Stephanie, as the love interest of the main character. Everything about her is soft. Her character is gentle. Her romance is a tangled ball of yarn, being pulled at from all directions, leaving knots and pills and fibers floating about: breathed in, choked on, and exhaled once again, she portrays concern and irritation, among many other emotions.

In contrast, a friend’s first exposure to Gainsbourg would be through Nymphomaniac, a 5 hour long film and final installment in von Trier’s depression trilogy, Charlotte is Joe, addicted to sex, telling her life story to a man who finds her beaten on the street. While there is a similar vulnerability to this character, everything about Joe is rough to the touch. There are no gentle moments, recollections of love at her surface. The long film portrays Joe through many periods of her life, with Gainsbourg acting as the adult version. Masturbating until skin breaks and blood seeps,remnants of this character follow this viewer as they move on from the film.

This friend and I have then showed each other the movie we did not watch. She goes from Nymphomaniac’s Joe to Science of Sleep’s Stephanie, and I move in the reverse. Unlike seeing an actress in a multitude of films, there is an immediate slice in character rather than a gradual dilution with an eventual calm. One film may provide infinite experiences, with viewers and their unique receptors and their different backgrounds. I am unsure of whether we may ever see eye to eye in that sense.char.png


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