Stop (or start) the posts, tweets and emails: Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life opens Friday at The Belcourt. For its first half fanciful and freely imagined where most biopics trudge a rut of formula, the first feature by French comic-book artist Joann Sfar (adapting his graphic novel) honors the furious creative energy and lubricious verve of its subject, Serge Gainsbourg (Eric Elmosnino), the oft-covered singer-songwriter who remains best known in the States for his scandalous 1969 single "Je t'aime ... moi non plus."
The expected beats are there, including the famed seducer's romances with Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Costa) and Jane Birkin (Lucy Gordon), his orgasmic duet partner on "Je t'aime." What's unexpected is Sfar's depiction of the Jewish artist's creative urge as a libidinous id sprung from his own lopsided "mug" (played by Pan's Labyrinth's palm-eyed apparition Doug Jones) — a spindly, hook-nosed avenger reclaimed by imagination from the anti-Semitic Vichy propaganda posters of Gainsbourg's childhood. It's a touch that embodies the playful, confrontational, otherworldly elements of Gainsbourg's music (of which we can't recommend strongly enough the compilation Comic Strip). It's the must-see of the week's new releases.
• Opening this weekend: the reissue of Nicolas Roeg's 1976 sci-fi drama The Man Who Fell to Earth, with David Bowie as the alien visitor, at The Belcourt; Daniel Craig and Naomi Watts in Dream House, a haunted-house yarn from My Left Foot director Jim Sheridan; Courageous, the new Christian drama from Sherwood Pictures of Facing the Giants and Fireproof fame; and the Anna Faris comedy What's Your Number? And speaking of Bowie, there's a free screening 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, of D.A. Pennebaker's 1973 concert recording Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars outside Fanny's House of Music, 1101 Holly St. in East Nashville. It's part of The Belcourt's second annual nD Festival; see belcourt.org for more details.