News  ·  16 | 07 | 2023

Farewell, JB.

You could say anything about Jane Birkin except that she was anchored in her past. Restless and curious, she always looked forward, coming to terms with her past but never allowing it to inhibit her creativity. If the temptation to celebrate or trivialize the icon of the 1960s is inevitable, it is also true that JB, as she was affectionately called by those who loved her, never stopped looking forward. Without regret or nostalgia. One only has to think of a magnificent record like Arabesque, in which she reinterpreted the repertoire of her beloved Serge live and with a group of Middle Eastern musicians, to understand the urgency of the motivations that drove her forward. And it was in music that Birkin expressed herself with the joy and curiosity of an enthusiastic novice. A record like Rendez-vous, accompanied by Kate Barry's gorgeous photography, explores her musical loves by contextualizing them in surprising and ever-changing sonic environments. From Bryan Ferry to Paolo Conte, from Feist to Brian Molko, from Françoise Hardy to Caetano Veloso, Jane Birkin's muse explores distant worlds while reflecting on her own history and voice. The 1960s may have been far away, but the creative restlessness was firmly in the folds of these songs. To the end, Jane Birkin continued to surprise herself and those who loved her. Her last album, in 2020, produced by Étienne Daho and Jean-Louis Piérot, entitled Oh ! Pardon tu dormais..., is probably her most mature collection of lyrics to date, to which the music of her fellow adventurers lends a masterly timbral vision. If we linger on the records, the last ones, it is only to celebrate her tireless curiosity and an always restless creativity, expressed even far from the movies and her most famous collaborations. Jane Birkin is indeed the sign of an unrepeatable time, but above all it is the sign of a determination not to be trapped between the folds of an image and a narrative that never wanted to take into account her complexity as an artist. This is why Jane Birkin will be missed all the more. Because her generous restlessness is a timely lesson we must learn. And in our hearts we will keep - always - the emotion of her presence at the Locarno Film Festival.


Giona A. Nazzaro, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival