Jane Mallory Birkin OBE
(born 14 December 1946
) is an English-born French actress
and film director
Birkin was born in London, England to David Birkin, a Royal Navy lieutenant-commander and World War II espionage hero, and Judy Campbell, an actress in Noel Coward musicals. Birkin's brother is the screenwriter/director Andrew Birkin. First cousin of her father was Freda Dudley Ward, a mistress of Edward VIII while he was Prince of Wales.
Birkin emerged in the swinging '60s in London
, starring as one of the models in the controversial 1966 film Blowup
. In 1968, Birkin went to France to audition for the lead female role in Slogan
. Though she did not speak French, she got the role. In "Slogan" she would play alongside Serge Gainsbourg
, who became her collaborator. She sang the theme song for "Slogan" with Gainsbourg which became their first of many musical collaborations.
In 1969, she and Serge Gainsbourg released the song "Je t'aime... moi non plus" ("I love you... me neither"), written by Gainsbourg and featuring both of them singing, which caused a scandal for its sexual explicitness. Arguably due in part to the publicity it got from being banned by radio stations in Italy, Spain, and the UK, it was a commercial success all over Europe. The song's fame is a result of its salacious lyrics (sung in French) against a background of female moaning and groaning, culminating in an orgasm at the song's conclusion. Birkin took a break from acting in 1971-72, but returned as Brigitte Bardot's lover in Don Juan (or if Don Juan were a woman) in 1973. In 1975, she appeared in Gainsbourg's first film, also entitled Je t'aime... moi non plus, which created a stir for frank examination of sexual ambiguity. For this performance she was nominated for a Best Actress César Award.
Birkin has starred in the Agatha Christie films Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun, and recorded several albums, including Baby Alone in Babylone, Amours des Feintes, Lolita Go Home and Rendez-vous. She has obtained in the category Female Artist of the year in France the Victoires de la Musique award in 1992.
She starred in two films by Jacques Doillon — as Anne in La fille prodigue (1981) and as Alma in La pirate (1984, nominated for a César Award). This work led to an invitation from Patrice Chéreau to star on stage in La Fausse suivante by Marivaux at Nanterre. After this, she also began to appear frequently on stage in plays and concerts (in France, Japan, the UK and then the US).
Jacques Rivette collaborated with her for Love on the Ground (1983) and La Belle Noiseuse (1991, Nominated Césars best supporting actress). Additionally, she appeared in Merchant Ivory's A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998, also used her song "Di Doo Dah") and Merci Docteur Rey (2002), while Le Divorce's end title song featured her singing "L'Anamour", composed by Serge Gainsbourg.
In 2006, she played Elektra, directed by Philippe Calvario in France.
Jane Birkin's humanitarian interests led her to work with Amnesty International, on immigrant welfare and AIDS issues. Birkin has also visited Bosnia, Rwanda and Palestinian Territories, often working with children. She was awarded an OBE, in 2001, for her services to acting. She has also been awarded the French Ordre National du Mérite.
She has made musical collaborations and duets with artists such as Feist, Beth Gibbons from Portishead, Bryan Ferry, Brian Molko from Placebo, Franz Ferdinand, Manu Chao, Brett Anderson from Suede, Mickey (3d), Françoise Hardy, Cali, The Divine Comedy, The Magic Numbers, Paolo Conte, Beck, Rufus Wainwright, Yann Tiersen, Alain Souchon, Les Negresses Vertes, Johnny Marr from The Smiths, Zazie, MC Solaar, Yosui Inoue, Étienne Daho, Alain Chamfort, Jimmy Rowles, Goran Bregović, Sonny Landreth, The Soundtrack of Our Lives and many others.
Birkin recorded the song "Beauty" on French producer Hector Zazou's 2003 album Strong Currents.
Her image features on the cover art of Have You Fed the Fish? by singer-songwriter Badly Drawn Boy (which features her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg on backing vocals).
Hermès named and designed a handbag - the Birkin bag - for her in 1984 after the actress was seen in 1981 by the head of Hermès struggling with several bags while boarding an aeroplane. The Birkin bag has become one of Hermès' most popular and expensive handbags.
She was married from 1965 until 1968 to John Barry
, an English composer who wrote the musical score to the James Bond
movies. Their daughter, the photographer Kate Barry, was born in 1967.
She had a passionate and creative relationship with her mentor Serge Gainsbourg — they met on the set of Slogan and married in 1968. They separated in 1980. Their daughter is actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.
In 1982 she gave birth to her third daughter, Lou Doillon, from her relationship with the director Jacques Doillon.
- The Knack...and How to Get It (1965) - Girl on Motorbike (uncredited)
- Blow Up (1966) - The Blonde
- Kaleidoscope (1966) - Exquisite Thing
- Wonderwall (1968) - Penny Lane
- Slogan (1969) - Évelyne
- The Pleasure Pit (1969) - Jane
- The Swimming Pool (1969) - Penelope
- Trop petit mon ami (1970) - Christine Mars / Christine Devone
- Sex Power (1970) - Jane
- Alba pagana (1970) - Flora
- The Mafia Wants Your Blood (1970) - Jane Swenson
- 19 djevojaka i Mornar (1971) - Milja
- Romance of a Horsethief (1971) - Naomi
- Trop jolies pour être honnêtes (1972) - Christine
- Dark Places (1973) - Alta
- Don Juan, ou Si Don Juan était une femme... (1973) - Clara
- Seven Dead in the Cat's Eye (1973) - Corringa
- Projection privée (1973) - Kate/Hélène
- Le Mouton enragé (1974) - Marie-Paule
- How to Make Good When One Is a Jerk and a Crybaby (1974) - Jane
- Lucky Pierre (1974) - Jackie Logan
- Serious as Pleasure (1975) - Ariane Berg
- La Course à l'échalote (1975) - Janet
- Catherine & Co. (1975) - Catherine
- Bestial Quartet (1975) - Jane Berg
- Burnt by a Scalding Passion (1976) - Virginia Vismara
- Je t'aime moi non plus (1976) - Johnny Jane
- The Devil in the Heart (1976) - Linda
- Madame Claude (1977) - singer (theme song "Yesterday Yes a Day")
- L'Animal (1977) - La vedette féminine
- Good-bye, Emmanuelle (1977) - as Singer (theme song)
- Death on the Nile (1978) - Louise Bourget
- Au bout du bout du banc (1979) - Peggy
- Melancholy Baby (1979) - Olga
- La miel (1979) - Inés
- Egon Schiele - Exzesse (1981) - Vally
- The Prodigal Daughter (1981, by Jacques Doillon) - Anne
- Rends-moi la clé ! (1981) - Catherine
- Evil Under the Sun (1982) - Christine Redfern
- Nestor Burma, Détective de choc (1982) - Hélène Chatelain
- Circulez, y'a rien à voir ! (1983, by Patrice Leconte) - Hélène Duvernet
- L'Ami de Vincent (1983) - Marie-Pierre
- Le Garde du corps (1984) - Barbara Penning
- La Pirate (1984, by Jacques Doillon) - Alma
- Love on the Ground (1984, by Jacques Rivette) - Emily
- Leave All Fair (1985) - Katherine Mansfield
- Dust (1985) - Magda
- Beethoven's Nephew (1985) - Johanna
- La Femme de ma vie (1986) - Laura
- Kung-Fu master (1987, by Agnès Varda) - Mary-Jane
- Jane B. par Agnès V. (1988, by Agnès Varda) - Calamity Jane / Claude Jade / Jeanne d'Arc
- Soigne ta droite (1987) - La cigale
- Comédie ! (1987, by Jacques Doillon) - Elle / also singer (theme song)
- Daddy Nostalgie (1990) - Caroline / also singer (end title "These Foolish Things")
- Contre l'oubli (1991, segment "Pour Maria Nonna Santa Clara, Philippine") - Director and narrator
- La Belle Noiseuse (1991) - Liz
- La Belle Noiseuse: Divertimento (1991) - Liz
- Oh pardon ! Tu dormais... (1992, TV) - as Director and writer
- 3000 scénarios contre un virus (1994) - as Director (segment "Je t'aime, moi non plus")
- Les cent et une nuits (1995) - Celle qui dit radin
- Black for Remembrance (1995) - Caroline
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1995) - The Woman (voice)
- On connaît la chanson (1997) - Jane (she sang her song "Quoi")
- A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998) - Mrs. Fortescue
- The Last September (1999) - Francie Montmorency
- This Is My Body (2001) - Louise Vernet
- A Hell of a Day (2001) - Jane
- Merci Docteur Rey (2002) - Pénélope
- The Very Merry Widows (2003) - Renée
- Le Divorce (2003) - singer (end title "L'Anamour")
- L'ex-femme de ma vie (2004) - singer (theme song "Parlez-moi d'amour")
- La tête de maman (2007)
- Boxes (2007)