charlotte.jpgCharlotte Gainsbourg is an uncomfortable actress. Perhaps this is due to being Serge’s daughter, being sired by that sex crazed loon is probably a wee bit embarrassing (not to mention duetting on Lemon Incest when yr thirteen). The two films I have seen her in though require her to be uncomfortable, in both the Science Of Sleep and The Golden Door she is someone who has taken a few knocks and is being buffeted by fate. Now you might saying being the object of affection of Gael Garcia Bernez is not a very disturbing situation, but bear in mind that he is playing a borderline psychopath in the film and you might understand why she is unsettled. Her English lady stuffed on a boat full of Italian émigrés in The Golden Door is equally out of place: businesslike in surviving, but not one of them. It’s a great trick, and one that suits her non-classical looks. She has also managed to survive films with considerably whacked out fantasy sequences. There are a number of mental Michel Gondry sequences in the Science Of Sleep which would test the credulity of lesser actresses. But even The Golden Door has her swimming through milk grabbing hold giant carrots. Being able to deadpan nonsense metaphorical sequences is more than a simple skill.

I am a little worried about her career though. Clearly speaking a large number of languages has given her an ability to pop up in European cinema. But her nicely flat English vowels courtesy of Jane Birkinmeans she has played the bilingual Brit in these films. Bilingual films (The Science Of Sleep does not really have a dominant language for example) are fine, but often point to multiple funding Europuddings. Funding dictates audience dictates what the director should be. In short I am worried that if she is not careful she’ll be picking up all the roles Kristen Scott Thomas would have got ten years ago, of Charlotte Rampling twenty. That said, I never saw Kristen Scott Thomas ride a mechanical horse made of patchwork rags, or indeed swim through milk in full period dress. Perhaps being game for a laugh will save her. Or smelling of milk.