Thursday, August 16, 2007
La Vie En Rose
Saw the incredible French biopic on the life of Edith Piaf last weekend.
Bottom line: Piaf had a rough life. The highlight of her childhood was getting to live in a filthy old brothel. Later, she spent some time with her contortionist father in a second-rate circus, eventually making her way to Montmartre, where she sang on the street for coins. A talent agent heard her singing one day and swept her from the streets to the cabarets. She developed into arguably France's greatest singer, a tiny (four-foot-nine) artist of unbelievable intensity, singing with raw emotion in an unmistakable style.
Liver cancer ravaged her body; when she died at 47 she looked at least 3 decades older. Denied a proper funeral by the pesky Catholic church, tens of thousands of mourners honored her on the streets of Paris.
The film's star, Marion Cottilard, utterly inhabits the soul of Piaf. For over two hours, one forgets that hers is an acting performance that took place over the course of weeks at strange hours of the day with a crew of dozens milling about.
I can't imagine her not receiving at the very least a Best Actress nod at this year's Oscars.
The film follows a non-linear narrative, which confused many of the old farts in the audience, who, throughout the film, asked their withered spouses (in full voice) questions like, "Is that her father?" or , "Is she having a dream?"
Message to people in theatres who are stupid and talk outloud, oblivious to others around them:
You mustn't understand everything you see in a film. Sit back, keep your mouth shut, and let the images wash over you. Life isn't linear: a clock may only move forward, but human beings don't.
For a well-written review by the snarky old queen of the NY fishwraps, click here.