Greta is a song proposed in Face B of the single Libertine (1986) and on the album Cendres de lune (1986). Pretty nice companions, those two songs, don’t you think?

Despite some insinuations, the lyrics for this song are not written by Mylene. In fact, the song is all Boutonnat. So, I wonder who was the biggest admirer of Garbo first: Mylene or Laurent. Either way, the song is a tribute.

“This song is called Greta, and it is a tribute to Greta Garbo.” (Mylène Farmer – France Inter – 12/13/1985)

Mylène has never hidden her deep admiration for Greta Garbo.

“I think she’s a wonderful actress. And then I like her life, I like the way her life unfolds. Unlike a lot of people, I think she’s a very strong personality. is a woman who is a force of nature.” (Mylène Farmer – France Inter – 13/12/1985)

“Frances Farmer and Greta Garbo inspire me. Their courage is immense. They are pioneers of a fight, that of the recognition of women in an artistic field.” (Mylène Farmer – ” Première “- March 2018)

The song begins with these words: “Divine / Exquisite”. Did you know Greta Garbo’s nickname was: “The Divine”?

Once I have attended a workshop of psychic ability/mediumship development (yes, I am into all of that). Being modest, I won’t say I possess extraordinary abilities to communicate to the dead (not yet, anyway) but I can say I do sense something (someone) when I write and truly let myself FEEL it/them…Greta FEELS strong and very present as I write this. At least, to me the energy is not at all desperate or out of sorts. Francis Farmer comes through to me very confused and in agony, I feel immense pain in her and feeling of entrapment. Garbo is nothing like that. Very much in the contrary: very set in her ways, very aware of her needs and her motivations, somewhat melancholy and not in control of her deeply hidden passions – somewhat like Mylene – but at the same time woman with an INNER KNOWING. Respect is what I also feel for Greta. Although they both have been on this planet at the same time, they paths have never crossed, and I doubt, Greta has ever heard of Mylene and her song-dedication which came out 4 years prior to the Garbo’s death.

There is a strong recognition of each other’s souls though…not conventionally speaking but there is a “bridge”. It is esoteric and therefore undetectable for many. But I do feel it. It is indeed discreet and confidential part of them which I must keep shielded from view. And let it be so, my dear readers…

Remember a famous quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” (“on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux”)

Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson September 18, 1905, Stockholm, Sweden (another beautiful Virgo along with Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, Claudia Schiffer and of course, Mylene herself)

Died: April 15, 1990, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY

In June 1941, she shoots the film which will mark the end of her acting career, “Two faced woman” under the direction of George Cukor: the film is a bitter failure, overwhelmed by criticism. Garbo, emotionally injured, withdraws. In the years that follow, there will be other contracts and other film projects for Garbo’s return to the screen, but unfortunately none will come to fruition and Garbo will declare that he no longer has any interest to shoot films.

She throws the towel being in her mid-30s. She mentions in many letters to her dear friends that she hates Hollywood and just “don’t want to go there anymore”. She moves as far as possible from it and settles in Manhattan for the rest of her days. Who knows what kind of Flowers of Evil she encountered there…Knowing what we know now about the dark side of the movie industry, we can only imagine?

All her life afterwards, Greta Garbo tries to escape the media and regularly hides her identity under various pseudonyms (Harriet Brown being her favorite), thereby only amplifying her myth. To an admirer asking her one day if she is Greta Garbo, she replies “I was Greta Garbo”.

Garbo was nicknamed Kata, the way she mispronounced her name, for the first ten years of her life. How endearing! 😊

Garbo was a shy daydreamer as a child. She disliked school and preferred to play alone. Garbo became interested in theatre at an early age. She has climbed to stardom during Silent film era (1925–1929).

In the next 16 years of her dazzling career, she has made 28 films! Its practically two motion pictures a year – wow!

One of her final movies was Ninotchka (a term of endearment/ nickname for Nina in Russian…as say “Mylen-ochka” for Mylene – literally means little darling….). The studio teamed her with producer-director Ernst Lubitsch to film Ninotchka (1939), her first comedy.

The film was one of the first Hollywood movies which, under the cover of a satirical, light romance, depicted the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as being rigid and gray when compared to Paris in its pre-war years. Ninotchka premiered in October 1939, publicized with the catchphrase “Garbo laughs!”, commenting on the departure of Garbo’s serious and melancholy image as she transferred to comedy. Favored by critics and box-office success in the United States and abroad, it was banned in the Soviet Union (surprise!)

With George Cukor’s Two-Faced Woman (1941), MGM attempted to capitalize on Garbo’s success in Ninotchka by re-teaming her with Melvyn Douglas in another romantic comedy which sought to transform her into a chic, modern woman. She played a “double” role that featured her dancing the rhumba, swimming, and skiing. The film was a critical failure, but contrary to popular belief, it performed reasonably well at the box office. Garbo referred to the film as “my grave”. It was indeed her last film.

She has been seen walking the streets of New York City, dressed casually, and wearing large sunglasses as she loved long walks. “Garbo-watching” became a sport for photographers, the media, admirers, and curious New Yorkers, but she maintained her elusive mystique to the end. (reminds you someone we know?)

She was once designated the most beautiful woman who ever lived by the Guinness Book of World Records.

MATA HARI, Greta Garbo, 1931

For her contributions to cinema, in 1960, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6901 Hollywood Boulevard.

Laurent Boutonnat will sample Greta Garbo’s lines from Two-Faced Woman (La femme aux deux visages) the lines from the film (not in the actual order)

“Ah ah. .. How should I see myself? I see my future, I’m a flower of evil, a few more burning flames like years … “
” I love you, oh I love you so. “
“Hello? …”
“The moment I saw you I knew I want to give them to.”
“I am at loss right now, I don’t know what to do.”
“I am not respectable, don’t talk to me like that.” “Oh no! You don’t want a woman like me. No, no, no, not like me.”
“Leave me. Go away, leave me!”
“Oh no no, not now, oh yes I’m quite alone, who would be with me?”

Mylène unveiled the song Greta long before the release of the album Cendres de lune . It is in the program “Pollen” on France Inter on December 13, 1985 which broadcasts the title in full.

performing both Greta and Libertine

Greta (Orchestral Variation) by Polyedre:

Tributes to Greta Garbo


lyrics with translation

Exquise et chagrine
De la vie, est orpheline
Reine et ruine
Maudit soient ceux qui t'ont prise
Greta rit, et moi je rougis
Greta tremble, la mort lui ressemble
Greta meurt, j'entends dieu qui pleure
Greta aime, divine infidele
Baisers froids comme elle
Je l'aime
Fuir n'est pas facile
Quand la nuit vous a conquise
Tout est vide
Tu n'es plus
C'est ma vie, tu l'as perdue
Greta rit, et moi je rougis
Greta tremble, la mort lui ressemble
Greta meurt, j'entends dieu qui pleure
Greta aime, divine infidele
Baisers froids comme elle
Je l'aime...
Exquisite and sorrow
Of life, is an orphan
Queen and ruin
Cursed be those who took you
Greta laughs, and I blush
Greta trembles, death looks like her
Greta dies, I hear god who cries
Greta loves, divine unfaithful
Cold kisses like her
I love her
Running away is not easy
When the night has conquered you
Everything is empty
You are no longer
It's my life, you lost it…
Greta laughs, and I blush
Greta trembles, death looks like her
Greta dies, I hear god who cries
Greta loves, divine unfaithful
Cold kisses like her
I love her...

The page last edited July 9, 2022

How do you like this post?

%d bloggers like this: