Thursday, March 08, 2007

La Môme / La Vie en rose

In La Môme (2007), Marion Cotillard stars as the great French singer Édith Piaf (Édith Giovanna Gassion, Paris, 12/19/1915-10/11/1963). The film, directed by Olivier Dahan, is set for wide release in the USA in June 2007. It is making waves in Europe already. Viewers especially love Cotillard's performance.

Piaf's story is a wild one. Coming from a dodgy background during the Great War, she was a waif in childhood with some kind of blindness and deafness and various psychosomatic ailments that were reportedly cured or reversed thanks to the miraculous powers left on Earth by Saint Thérèse de Lisieux.

Then, in her teens, she had Marcelle, a daughter, who died of meningitis.

Here was already a person ready to sing the blues, and in fact, her unique singing voice helped make her an artistic and commercial success.

Louis Leplée (Gérard Depardieu in the movie) was her first real starmaker and was the one responsible for giving her moniker -- La Môme Piaf / The Sparrow Kid, in the mid-1930s. Leplée was mysteriously murdered (in shady times like today), and Piaf's fame grew. Soon she became friends with leading artists of her day. When World War Two rolled around, she became friends with Yves Montand (later star of Costa Gavras' Z and countless other compelling international movies).

After the war she became a truly international star, went on world tour, and fell in love with boxer Marcel Cerdan, who died in a plane crash in 1949. In 1951, she herself was in a car crash that led to morphine addiction during her recovery. She died in 1963 at 47.

Piaf's most famous songs include "La vie en rose" (1945) and "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1960). Given their parallel life stories, it's not without reason she's been compared to American torch singer Billie Holiday (b. Eleanora Fagan, 4/7/1915-7/17/1959) in importance, adoration, and tragedy.

Today's Rune: Partnership.

Bon voyage!


JR's Thumbprints said...

This is indeed a series of strange events, yet she died so young.

Sheila said...

I want to learn how to speak french! Hey Erik how have you been?

Danny Tagalog said...

Good call Erik. Check out Half Man Half Biscuit's version of....'Rien'!