THE PASSIONATE LIFE OF EDITH PIAF.
Director Olivier Dahan and his collaborators have picked the seminal events of famed chanteuse Edith Piaf’s life and present them in a jumbled, reasonably engaging way that gives us clues to how she ended up the way she did. The famed sparrow led a fiercely independent life (“Non, je ne regrette rien” was by no means a coincidence) and the filmmakers expertly provide the background to make us understand her attitude to life. With a little help from excellent makeup designers, Marion Cotillard is immensely convincing as Edith, both as an aspiring artist and dying superstar; the singing voice is also cleverly recreated.
2007-France-Britain-Czech Republic. 140 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Alain Goldman. Directed by Olivier Dahan. Screenplay: Olivier Dahan, Isabelle Sobelman. Cinematography: Tetsuo Nagata. Music: Christopher Gunning. Costume Design: Marit Allen. Makeup: Didier Lavergne, Jan Archibald. Cast: Marion Cotillard (Edith Piaf), Clotilde Courau (Anetta), Jean-Paul Rouve (Louis Gassion), Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory, Jean-Pierre Martins… Emmanuelle Seigner, Gérard Depardieu.
Trivia: Original title: La Môme.
Oscars: Best Actress (Cotillard), Makeup. BAFTA: Best Actress (Cotillard), Music, Costume Design, Makeup & Hair. Golden Globe: Best Actress (Cotillard).
Last word: “The only part I sing myself is because she’s drinking, she sings like hell. [laughs] And they decided, I don’t know why, to keep my voice. But no no, I sing much better than in that scene, too, because I love to sing. But the lip-synching, it’s a very, very difficult thing to do. It’s very technical, you have to remember it precise, very accurate. Everything counts. Your whole body, everything. Your whole body is involved in the process of doing a good lip-synch, and do it almost perfectly. And it was the hardest thing to do. What took me the most time, the most energy, what drove me the most crazy, and was all the days of lip-synch, I was very, very stressed out. [laughs] Because it was important for us to make this almost perfect. Because if it’s not, the audience will just come out from the movie for that long. And you can’t do this.” (Cotillard, Collider)