Charlotte Gainsbourg revisits her youth (and actual childhood home) in the self-directed video for Lying With You.
The latest offering from her album Rest was filmed in the house that belonged to her father, the musician and artist Serge Gainsbourg. Unchanged since his death in 1991, it provides the backdrop to lyrics that reimagine his passing. Portraying herself as a 19 year old who finds and lies beside his body, the song is accompanied by shots of herself and a depiction of her younger self wandering through the home that’s filled with photographs, heirlooms, a giant preserved spider, TV screens, and instruments.
The video is the fourth to be taken from Gainsbourg’s first album since 2010’s IRM, following Rest, Deadly Valentine, and Ring a Ring ‘O Roses.
“Each video came from personal, resonating ideas,” explains Gainsbourg, who directed them all following some initial guidance from the film maker Lars Von Trier, a frequent collaborator in her acting career.
“I needed a push and Lars was there to help,” she said of making the leap into directing with the song Rest. “At first I asked him if he would direct the video for me. He answered: ‘No… you should do it!’
“Understanding what I required, he instructed: ‘I will tell you exactly what you must do’ and precisely dictated ‘the rules’ which I had to follow. I nodded throughout our phone conversation while writing down the master’s principles. And that was it – the initial push I needed to go out and use the camera myself.
“Taking possession of the imagery, I was able to reflect my personality in the archive footage I selected or the new images I filmed. With this first directorial step, I created a repetitive language via a musical loop. I applied a similar approach to videos for other songs on the album.”
Produced by Frank Ocean collaborator SebastiAn and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (who’s worked with the likes of Adele and Lorde), that album features collaborations with Paul McCartney, Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Connan Mockasin, and Owen Pallett. But, despite their calibre, none of these collaborators overshadow Gainsbourg’s singular voice.
“This time it felt like flying on my own. I knew I needed the right collaborator, and SebastiAn was always there, but all the same, this time the album is really mine,” she explains.