La Vie en Rose
By Caroline Planque
Edith Piaf’s life
epitomizes the myth of a French artist: a life started in utmost
poverty, which would give everything only to later take it back.
Piaf’s life knew no boundary between art and existence. Her
personal victories as well as her tragedies set up a
self-destructive fate from which she could not escape.
latest feature, La Vie en Rose, cleverly weaves the
threads of Piaf’s life in a non-linear manner, alternating the
great performances of her career with a recollection of the most
telling episodes of her life. Dahan himself confesses that he
did not know much about the French icon prior to starting the
project: “Only a few songs, like most people. When one grows up
in France, one can’t escape it…. But I read a lot and discovered
many things as I was writing the screenplay.” The film feels a
bit melodramatic and contrived at times, especially in earlier
scenes when Edith seems to have found a safe haven in her
grandmother’s bordello in Normandy. But Dahan insists that “95
percent of the facts related in the movie are true” and that he
only took liberties as a director in the narrative structure of
the movie. The film also completely leaves out a major
historical event at the time: World War II, choosing instead to
focus solely on Piaf’s career and sensitivity as an artist.
But beyond those
few points, one cannot help but be mesmerized by Marion
Cotillard’s performance as Piaf, a role for which she just won
the Golden Space Needle Audience Award for best actress at the
Seattle International Film Festival. She, alone, carries the
movie, making for extremely moving moments of truth, from
performing on stage to learning about her lover Marcel Cerdan’s
La Vie en Rose
also scored 2nd runner up for the Golden Space Needle
Audience Award for best film at SIFF.
Now playing at
The Egyptian Theatre
read an interview (in French) of
director Oliver Dahan.
2006 All content property of European Weekly unless where otherwise