Wednesday, January 27, 2010

#134 La Vie En Rose (2007)


Director: Olivier Dahan
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory, Emmanuelle Seigner, Jean-Paul Rouve, Gerard Depardieu

La Vie En Rose is the story of French singer Edith Piaf, who lived from 1915 to 1963 and died due to complications from liver cancer. For starters, I love a great character. Even further, I love great, timeless music. This film is dark, funny, and in-your-face.

It gives a kaleidoscope view of Piaf's life-- jumping through time and making striking juxtapositions between the turmoils of her childhood, her success, and her downfall. Born on the streets, raised by her grandmother in a brothel in Normandy, suffering from blindness for five years during her childhood, working in the circus with her father, being tortured by her boyfriend pimp, dealing with a husband's murder, and her sufferings with cancer-- the life of Piaf is nothing short of extraordinary. It is incredible to see glimpses of her in both her high and low moments, and I found myself both laughing and wanting to cry countless times throughout the film. The best and most emotional scene comes when she is forced to reckon with the death of the love of her life-- the details of which I'll restrain myself from giving away. The actress chosen to play her was nothing short of brilliant and was truly able to capture the fascinating unrestrained awkwardness of Piaf.

Not only a brilliant and moving film unto itself, but for a music lover-- this is a must see. It was particularly timely as I await the release of Martha Wainwright's cover album of Piaf's final show at the Olympia. Brilliant.

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