This weekend Opera Chic missed a few things (more on that later, sometimes life interferes with art), among them the just-released Olivier Dahan film, La Vie En Rose (La Môme in French release), a film celebrating the tragic genius of Édith Piaf.
Debuted at the Berlin Film Festival this past February, 2007, it stars (much larger) Marion Cotillard magically filling the 4'8" frame of the French national icon. The film follows Piaf's colorful and incredible life (bf4e&e with Yves Montand, Jean Cocteau, and Marlene Dietrich) from her earliest memories to her death in 1963. Piaf dazzled Paris, but also made appearances at NYC's Carnegie Hall, singing “La Vie en Rose” and “Non, je ne regrette rien”.
It took Director Olivier Dahan three years to produce the film, only after poring through Piaf's personal letters and private writings, and channeling the spirit of the singer. His motivation was to expose the private pathos that drove Piaf's creative spirit, as opposed to the public image of the French superstar. His purpose was not to create a biopic, but to show her journey, and dissect the artistic drive behind the icon. The film was shot over the span of four and a half months in the beginning of 2006, in a Prague studio, Paris, and Los Angeles. Co-stars include film veteran Gérard Depardieu, Sylvie Testud, and Emanuelle "No, My Husband Is NOT A Paedophile, Merci" Seigner.
Now, we haven't read much about the film because we want to be surprised, but we are afraid it'll be a too-respectful look at an extraordinary artist's life, the way Clint Eastwood's well-meaning Bird kind of embalmed Charlie Parker's legend in a long, slow, respectful cinematic funeral. We just don't know. It's just that Piaf's is possibly the only voice that can beat Callas's in the "raw, exposed nerves" department.
What's the word? Inoubliable.