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Charlotte Gainsbourg names her favourite film of all time


Born into creative royalty, Charlotte Gainsbourg is the daughter of the English actor Jane Birkin and the French musician Serge Gainsbourg, with her own achievements in the film industry worthy of their own praise. 

Having grown up on film sets, with both her parents having links to the film industry, Gainsbourg was thrown into a life of acting, making her screen debut as Catherine Deneuve’s daughter in the 1984 film Paroles et Musique at the age of just 13. Two years later, the young actress would win a César Award for ‘Most Promising Actress’ for the 1986 movie An Impudent Girl directed by Claude Miller. 

A French and English-speaking actor, Gainsbourg enjoyed success across the landscape of contemporary cinema throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, experiencing her first taste of global fame when she starred as the titular character in Jane Eyre in 1996, featuring alongside William Hurt and Anna Paquin. Marking her entrance into the cultural mainstream, the actor went on to feature in the Oscar-nominated 21 Grams in 2003 as well as The Science of Sleep by Michel Gondry in 2006. 

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Her collaboration with the controversial Danish director Lars von Trier in 2009 would prove to  be a significant catalyst for change, establishing Gainsbourg as a force for artistic innovation, appearing in the explicit horror movie Antichrist.

A sinister poem to the brutal horrors of nature, spiked with gory, shocking imagery, the film stars Gainsbourg alongside Willem Dafoe, with the story following a grieving mother and father after the loss of their child. Marking the first the actor and director collaborated,  Gainsbourg would return for Melancholia in 2011 and Nymphomaniac in 2013, making the actor one of the most courageous in all of modern Hollywood. 

Speaking in a recent interview with Criterion for their popular ‘Closet Picks’ video, the acclaimed actor revealed her favourite film of all time, along with some other meaningful choices. 

Stepping into the cinephile’s paradise, Gainsbourg picked out the 1955 film The Night of the Hunter directed by Charles Laughton and exclaimed, “This is my favourite film”. Going into further detail about her first viewing experience of the classic, she adds, “My father showed it to me on his big screen and that at the time it was quite incredible, it was in 1980, it was the starting point of videos and it was just like having a movie theatre at home so it was quite special and he loved Robert Mitchum, and then it just never left me, I just live with it”. 

Starring Mitchum alongside Shelley Winters and Peter Graves, the 1955 classic tells the story of a religious fanatic who marries a gullible widow with plans to steal her $10,000 stash, and is also a favourite of the Uncut Gems directors, the Safdie brothers.

Reluctant to name just one pick, Gainsbourg also chooses Belle de Jour as a favourite, along with the Spike Jonze film Being John Malkovich, with the actor exclaiming, “It’s just a wonderful film, also i’m always looking for films that I can show my ten year old and this one  really works for a ten year old, it’s quite magically funny and so original and crazy”.