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Polanski's dubious duet

Feb 9

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010  RssIcon

We've mentioned Emmanuelle Seigner on this blog before. The French actress released her first album in 2007 with the group Ultra Orange, and subsequently recorded a duet with Brett Anderson. Now her second album has just come out - and it includes a duet far more controversial than that with the Suede singer.

The album (right) is called 'Dingue', pronounced 'dang', which is French for 'crazy'. While her first album was heavily influenced by Lou Reed, this new record harks back to the classic '60s French pop of France Gall and Sylvie Vartan. Not being blessed with a great singing voice, Seigner never strays far from a low monotone - which is quite alright in France, because many singers do this.

The album was due to be released last November but was held back due to a dramatic development in Seigner's personal life - the arrest of her husband, Roman Polanski.

The acclaimed film director was taken into custody on a visit to Switzerland last September, as the Swiss authorities sought to extradite him to the USA to face charges of unlawful sex with a minor. Polanski is currently under house arrest in Switzerland.

Here's where Seigner's album gets controversial: one of the tracks, 'Qui Etes Vous?' ('Who Are You?') is a Bardot/Gainsbourg-style duet with Polanski - and the lyrics have an unfortunate resonance with the charges he faces.

The lyrics start with Seigner addressing an unknown man in her bed: "Qui êtes-vous, monsieur? Qu'est-ce que vous faites dans mon lit?" ("Who are you, sir? What are you doing in my bed?") Polanski's reply is "Je suis l'amour en personne" ("I am love in person").

The second verse is even more embarrassing. Seigner sings "Mais vous n'êtes pas mon type/Allez-vous-en/Vous allez avoir des problèmes" ("But you're not my kind/Go away/You'll have problems"). It continues:

Him: Tu m'as déjà dit 'je t'aime' (You already said 'I love you')

Her: Moi? (Me?)

Him: Tu as de peau douce et lisse (You have soft, smooth skin)

Her: J'appelle la police! (I'm calling the police!)

The third verse:

Him: Je ne veux que ton bonheur (I only want your happiness)

Her: Tu es un sâle voleur (You're a dirty thief)

Him: Je ne veux que ton bien (I only want you to be well)

Her: Mais je ne suis pas un chien! (But I'm not a dog!)

And the fourth verse, where Polanski's character becomes creepier:

Him: Mais enfin nous sommes fiancés (But finally we're engaged)

Her: Vous avez fumé? (Have you been smoking?)

Him: Tu m'as couru après, c'était en été (You chased me, it was in the summer)

Her: Je ne suis jamais engagée! Allez dégagé! (I've never been engaged! Go on, get lost!)

This, remember, performed by a man who fled charges of unlawful sexual relations with a 13-year-old girl. What on earth were Seigner and Polanski thinking?

The track hasn't yet been posted on Seigner's MySpace site - your correspondent downloaded it from a French online music shop. The album has just been released in France; at the time of writing, we haven't seen or heard any reaction from the French music press.

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Author

Aidan Curran, based in Paris, has been writing for CLUAS since 2004. More info about Aidan...

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