Saturday, 3 September 2011

La vie en rose (2007):Movie review


I recommend  the reader’s a movie ‘La vie en rose’ strongly. I got this movie in my collection when I found that it got 2 Oscars in 2007 – one for the best actress (Marion Cotillard) and another for make-up. I heard a lot of praise for this stunningly beautiful and young French actress but I never watched it due to lack of time. But when I watched it last weekend I was just swept away. How captivating was the portrayal of legendary French singer Edith Piaf’s life story!

Edith Piaf (played beautifully by Marion Cotillard ) was a French singer who catapulted into fame in the first half of twentieth century. Her ballads were crowd-pullers and she was considered the greatest singer of France. She was liked by the elites as well as the masses. She had a humble origin and tormented life. Her short yet disturbed life had enough stories to be made into a stirring movie. Born to an acrobat father and a singer mother, she was raised in a brothel. She started as a street singer in Paris to earn her living and was picked up by Louis Leplee, a night club owner for singing in that club. She became popular and never looked back after she met Raymond Asso, the songwriter who polished her talent. She belted out hits after hits and became darling of the French. She toured Europe and US. But tragedy and sorrow never left her. She was married and divorced. She thought that she found happiness and contentment in the much-married Marcel Cerdan, the French heavyweight World champion boxer. But death of Marcel in a plane crash left her forlorn. And alcohol, drugs, her low-life addiction never did her any good to sober up her life. Though she was a constant embarrassment for her accompanying people, they always tried to put back her life in shape because they were sure of her captivating talent. She died at a young age of forty seven in 1963.

All this, so beautifully enacted by Marion! It has to be remembered that Marion Cotillard was only 30 years old when she played the role of Edith Piaf. Marion was brilliant as a young and unsure Edith who comes to stage nervously; and even better as an old, ill and dying Edith. With a wonderful makeup, she transforms into the older Edith and portrays engrossingly the innate insecurities, tantrums, and guilt of a decaying life which held enormous promise and talent. I can say doubtlessly that Cotillard deserves a place in film history similar to Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Merleine Deitrich- the all time great artists.

I was moved by the last scene of this movie. Even a heartless will be. The last scene is a montage of Edith’s lifestory – her moments of glory and pangs of longing for ever-elusive love and happiness with a brilliantly played full-throated song “Je ne regrette rien” meaning “No regrets, no regrets at all” as a backdrop. The French song says
“No, nothing at all,
No, I regret nothing at all,
Not the good times I had,
Not the pain,
It means nothing to me.
It is done, wiped away, erased.
The past interests me not at all.
With my souvenirs I build a fire,
My sadness, my pleasures,
I don’t need them any longer.
The loves are gone, the traumas as well,
Erased forever,
I must start anew”.

What an apt and heart-rending swan-song of a singer who lived and died for music. I may even forget the movie but not this song with such imageries of a wonderful life, lived to the hilt and lost. I am moved whenever I think of this last scene. Overall, this biopic can be of lasting impression for serious film lovers, not only for its acting but also for its music.

Note: This blog written by me first appeared in Passionforcinema.com in April,2009

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