La Vie en Rose (Extended Version)
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Marion Cotillard ("Big Fish," "A Very Long Engagement") won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her performance in this examination of the life of singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963), known as "The Little Sparrow." Piaf grew up in difficult circumstances, living at times with her mother, an alcoholic street singer; her father, a circus performer; and a grandmother, a madam at a brothel. A 20-year-old street singer, she is discovered by a club owner who is soon murdered, and coached by a musician who brings her to concert halls. Her rise to fame after that was fast, and her constant companions were alcohol and heartache. The tragedies of a love affair with Marcel Cerdan and the death of her only child belie the words of one of her signature songs, "Non, je ne regrette rien" (translated: "No, I regret nothing"). In addition to Cotillard's Best Actress Oscar, "La Vie En Rose" also took home an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Makeup. French-language film with English subtitles.]]>
- Slipping Into Character: featurette detailing Marion Cotillard's transformation into Edith Piaf
Top Customer Reviews
Piaf's story is well known to her long-time fans--brought up in a brothel, wrested from the only life she knew by her father so they could join the circus, her teen years on the streets, her "rescue" by a crime figure who gave her the start to her career, and, ultimately, her international success and final illness. She was always frail, sickly, malnourished, and wildly temperamental. She was often on drugs or alcohol, and she was always in search of true love (not finding it till late in her life). All this is depicted here with its horrors and its rare moments of tenderness, the cinematography (Tetsuo Nagata) so brilliant that the realistic, dark settings invite the reader's emotional entry into them and exploration of them.
Marion Cotillard becomes Piaf, a physical likeness that is uncanny in its realism (one wonders if she can ever play another part without conjuring up Piaf's image), and her emotional connection to Piaf's music is total. Her song performances are absolutely flawless, as are her gestures, and the only clue that she is lip-synching is the unmistakable Piaf voice the emerges from her mouth. Louis Leplee (Gerard Depardieu) as the nightclub owner whose murder by organized crime draws Edith in for questioning, shows the genuine care he has for Edith and the tough face of a man who has seen and done it all.Read more ›
Piaf grew up on the streets of Paris. Her life was one crises after another, some of her making, some not. We meet her as a child, when her mother abandoned her. Her father, a soldier in WWI and a contortionist in small traveling circuses, disappeared for long period of time. At one point before puberty she lived for quite a while with her paternal grandmother, who ran a brothel. She helped her father work at one of those circuses. They survived as street entertainers in Paris. She finally had enough and struck out on her own, making a little money singing on the streets, giving much of it to a local pimp for protection. She had a child who died of meningitis. When she was 20 she was discovered by an "impresario" who ran a nightclub. Louis Leplee renamed her Piaf. When he was murdered in what seemed to be a gang hit, she was put through the public wringer by the police and the French press. Her fame grew. During WWII she agreed to sing at POW camps so the French prisoners could be photographed with Piaf by the Germans as evidence of how happy the prisoners were. Piaf was a member of the Resistance.Read more ›
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):
1. Little Edith has a hard knock life with her mother, and eventually is "rescued" by her father, and taken to live with her grandmother
2. Grandma's girls (and clients) call her "Madame"
3. She is taken under the wing of Titine, one of the girls, and learns about song and prayer
4. Dad returns and decides that he will be the stable influence in her life
5. ... so he raises her in a circus where he's a contortionist
6. Soon she's singing for her supper and hitting the bottle
7. ...and the needle
8. ... and continues to do so, stubborn as a mule, ruining her health
9. ... while singing her heart out
From the streets to the brothel, from the circus to the streets, from the streets to the clubs, through bad patches and bubbly heights, culminating in a passionate love affair and the inevitable decline, the viewer will love, hate and pity the temperamental singer, though not necessarily in that order.
Although not my type of music, and given that I normally shy away from long dramatic movies, there's no escaping the fact that Marion Cotillard gives an absolutely magnificent performance. The supporting actors, the settings and the cinematography make this a memorable watching experience.
This is not a movie to brighten your day, lift your spirits or make your heart soar, but if you asked me if I regret watching it, I'd have to say "Non, je ne regrette rien".
Amanda Richards, August 3, 2008
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Piaf was a not-at-all sober, very flawed person with a huge talent. This fractured, or perhaps faceted, look at the events of her life and her music is both a cautionary tale and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lauren Lundgren
Not HD re-mastered, but the quality of the actors comes through.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A GOOD FILM, BUT NOT AS GOOD AS I'D THOUGHT IT WOULD BE...MUSICAL SCORE IS SUPER WITH EDITH PIAF SINGING... Read morePublished 2 months ago by CHRISTINA HIGGINS
It was very dark and grim but loved the scenes of her singing.Published 3 months ago by Nancy Keene
Marion Cotillard is one of the best actresses and talents on earth. She played Edith Piaf to perfection!! Je l'aime a mourir.Published 3 months ago by D. J. Weaks
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