Friday, February 29, 2008

La Môme

Which translates as ‘The Kid’ . However, on release in the USA, it was re-titled La Vie en Rose, which roughly translates as ‘the world through rose-colored glasses’, though there is little of Edith Piaf’s life that would fit that description, and the movie doesn’t pull many punches in sugar-coating things. I hadn’t seen this movie before it won its pair of Oscars but there it was at the video store so we thought we would give it a try. Friday night, neither of us feeling at our best, rain coming down outside and nothing much else to do than give the cat some medicine. What could be better? - a biography of a French singer who died young after a lifetime of abuse but who is still revered in her native country though I suspect less well-known over this side of the pond. I had grown up with the sound of her voice as part of my soundtrack of France along with General de Gaulle and Jane Birkin. The treat of the movie was indeed the songs themselves - often using Piaf’s own voice, and it was not hard to see why the Academy liked Marion Cotillard’s performance so much.

However, as a movie, it was no great shakes. It followed the path (or should I say walked the line) of many a biopic of the tortured artist without adding anything much to the genre. The decision to use a non-linear approach to the time line of her life did not seem to have much point to it (other than maybe to obscure some of the less salutary aspects of her life that might detract from this hagiography) and about the only memorable scene for me was one in which Piaf having received news of the death of the love of her life stumbles in her grief through her apartment to emerge through a doorway back on stage again, emphasizing how much her life was played out in public as well as in private.

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