(Credit: Alan Light)

Watch a 15-year-old Jodie Foster sing Serge Gainsbourg

Jodi Foster, as a child, was a bit of a savant of sorts. She had accomplished more than many can only dream of by the age of 15. By that time, she spoke a second language impeccably (she could speak French like a native), and she received critical acclaim for her role in Martin Scorsese’s highly acclaimed The Taxi Driver in which she received an Academy Award nominationShe thrived as a child actor; there was never a shortage of roles for her to star in.

After graduating from Yale University, Foster failed to find substantial roles as an adult actor. Eventually, she would find her breakthrough as a rape survivor in 1988 The Accused, for which she won an Academy Award. Even as a child, Foster’s emotional intelligence was far advanced, allowing her to embody the fragility of human vulnerability. She would find her niche in this particular archetype as an adult.

As a performer, Foster tends to play characters who are victims or are otherwise in a hunted position. Silence of the Lamb in 1991 would fully encapsulate this for which she won her second academy award. It is no surprise, then, that Foster would be able to channel her sophisticated sense of the human experience within her performance of music. Serge Gainsbourg, a notorious and prolific songwriter, wrote songs about a wide variety of topics. Many of them documenting the everyday life of common people life; some were more inappropriate than others. 

One thing is clear; in all of his songs, Gainsbourg always had a sense of humour within his music but never failed to consider the everyday struggles of living. Therefore, Jodi Foster – the young artist at the time – would be the prime candidate to perform the song on French television with Claude Francois, who would be her coach of sorts.

As a 15-year-old she explored a potential music career, releasing a few singles and making a few appearances on French TV. According to Dangerous Minds, “She appeared on the soundtrack for a movie called ‘Moi, fleur bleue’ (in America the title was Stop Calling Me Baby!) singing a song called “When I Looked at Your Face.” She released that track as a single and also put out another single called ‘Je t’attends depuis la nuit des temps.’

‘Je t’attends depuis la nuit des temps’ was written by Pierre Delanoe. Claude Francois coached her for a performance of it on French television. The two would also perform Serge Gainsbourg’s 1968 composition, ‘Comic Strip’.

Watch the video of the 15-year-old Jodi Foster performing the song with Claude Francois, below.

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