La Vie en Rose
Autumn 2007 Edge series
Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 7:00pm
Directed by Olivier Dahan
Starring Emmanuelle Seigner, Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Paul Rouve, Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, and Pascal Greggory
Rated 14A ·
English and French
La vie en rose, the latest film from Olivier Dahan, brings the dramatic story of Edith Piaf, France’s greatest songstress, to the big screen. The film opened the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival to great fanfare and went on to enthral international audiences as it began its theatrical release.
The film begins at the height of her career, opening with Piaf’s celebrated 1959 New York performance — just four years before her death. Cleverly employing a series of ingenious flashbacks, Dahan presents different moments from Piaf’s tumultuous life while Marion Cotillard, best known for her performance in A Very Long Engagement, brilliantly portrays the chanteuse’s evolution as the “Sparrow of Paris.” After a childhood spent at her grandmother’s brothel in Normandy, the teenaged Piaf travels with the circus run by her alcoholic father before singing on the streets of Paris with her best friend Mômone (Sylvie Testud, Demain on déménage, Les mots bleus). Piaf’s musical career takes flight when cabaret owner Louis Leplée (Gérard Depardieu, Cyrano de Beregerac, Le placard) discovers her on the streets and convinces her to sing — in spite of her fear of performing in front of formal audiences. She immediately captures the hearts of the French, quickly rising to the international acclaim for which she is still revered today.
Cotillard delivers a riveting performance, both lending insight into Piaf’s misery and dazzling us with the star’s incredibly moving stage presence. Aided by expert makeup, this astonishing young actor seamlessly embodies Piaf’s transformation from hesitant teenager to international star. With a keen eye for detail and atmosphere, Dahan has beautifully recreated the Paris of the early twentieth century. The film’s rich score includes thirty unforgettable songs, including “Non, je ne regrette rien,” “Milord” and, naturally, “La vie en rose.” Audiences will be transported to Piaf’s Paris and revel in the voice that captured the world.