Thursday, February 15, 2007

La Mome Piaf


You probably all know Edith Piaf (real name Edith Gassion), a famous French singer who sung La vie en rose (no, it was not Grace Jones who sung it first!!) and many other famous French songs. She had a pretty short life (1915-1963) but she lived it fully. She loved and was loved and she rapidly became a real icon. Even 40 years after her death she is still worshiped her. Today they just released a film about her life. I haven't seen it yet but I will. (bonus: here listen to several of her songs including "Je ne regrette rien")

44 comments:

  1. I sure will, too. I hope the movie has real clips of her.

    Edith Piaf was an incredible person, artist, woman and left behind tons of songs and poems written for her by young artists/song writers. In fact, she was responsible for launching the career of many of the 50's French male singers such as Yves Montand, Compagnons de la Chanson, Charles Aznavour, etc., etc., etc... Excellent info, Eric, thank you.

    (A word of warning, though, if you've never heard Piaf before: Edith Piaf's music is not for everybody, and some people in the States -or elsewhere in the word - may find her music hard to listen to. )

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  2. "Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien
    Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
    Ni le mal, tout ça m'est bien égal

    Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien
    C'est payé, balayé, oublié
    Je me fout du passé
    Avec mes souvenirs
    J'ai allumé le feu
    Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
    Je n'ai plus besoin d'eux

    Balayés mes amours
    Avec leurs trémolos
    Balayés pour toujours
    Je repars a zéro...

    Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien
    Car ma vie, car mes joies
    pour aujourd'hui
    Ça commence avec toi"

    This song gives the goose bumps everytime I hear it!

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  3. Monica from Rio. Thank you for the words.

    Eric this brings back some memories. Although I was not in France as a child, I used to hear her songs at home out on the street, almost everywhere. As teen agers we thought that her songs were boring, but when you hear them again...her voice beckons to nostalgic times. I must be getting old.

    Clo.

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  4. You've really come up with a winner this time. I have loved her music since I was a kid....that ain't easy when you are growing up in NE Ohio. She made a trip to the states and I got to see her in person. She gives me chills when I hear her sing. I have many cd's of her. We went to see her grave at Pere LeChaise cementary a few years ago. There is a museum dedicated to her but the hours and days are weird. You have to make an appointment to go there. We have seen many stage shows featuring her life and songs. The best one was in Marseille. We even saw a one hour show in Winnepeg, Canada featuring her life and music. I think several movies are coming out this year about her. Netflix has an old movie with much Piaf footage in it. We leave for Paris this afternoon and will see Juliette Greco's show and a play with Jean Piat. Golly, I am really excited about this trip, short though it may be.

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  5. I wouldn't have picked Marion Cotillard as a first choice to play La Mome Piaf. You'll tell us how she manages when you see it as I am afraid this movie won't be shown on the Australian screens anytime soon!...

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  6. Eric, we are huge fans of Edith Piaf and I bought my first record (yes, record) of hers about 25 years ago. I think "Non, je ne regrette rien" was my theme song for a number of years (still is I suppose). I'm looking forward to seeing the film. Well over 10 years ago, at the Adelaide Festival of Arts, there was a stage musical entitled "A Star is Torn" which featured Robyn Archer (subsequently a director of the Adelaide Festival) playing Piaf. It was spectacular since Robyn did an incredible job of mimicking Piaf's voice (not easy).
    Monica: thank you so much for the words ...
    BV ... what have you seen Marion Cotillard in before?

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  7. Apparently they will release it in the U.S. (according to IMDB) as La vie en rose. Which seems crazy, because how easy to confuse it with Ma vie en rose, which was a GREAT film released in 1997.

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  8. Thanks for the heads up, Eric - I'm very anxious to see the movie!
    In 2002 or 2003 (can't remember which) la Mairie de Paris(town hall) had a free exhibit on the life of Piaff, including a live on film performance of "Je ne regrette rien" in one of the rooms. I'm glad the room was dark, becaused I balled like a baby...What a life, what a voice, what a woman!

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  9. WOW Again Eric!! I think you are reading my mind! I was going to ask if this had opened in Paris yet! I saw the news of it on TV5 Monde here in SF[from the Berlin Film Festival]and got quite excited as I adore Piaf[la Mome]and have adored her all my life!!! She has always represented post-war France to many Americans, the passion, the music, the life!! She was married in New York in 1952 to Jacques Pils in the Church of St Vincent de Paul and Marlene Dietrich was her Maid of Honor. A trip to Paris always includes a visit to La Mome at Pere Lachaise, and the last time I was in Paris I was a little "under the weather" and decided to stay in and watch TV, and what was on?...A documentary on Piaf!!! I was in heaven...Merci!!!!

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  10. Thanks for all the great information about Edith Piaf and the movie. I will definitely go see it when it comes out in NYC.

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  11. Ha! While in Paris, I couldn't sleep one night, turned on the TV and saw an interview of the woman who is playing her in this movie.

    I plan to see it. In French of course will English subtitles....as all good Americans do! Original version always!

    Can you imagine seeing "Letters from Iwo Jima" in anything other than Japanese? :O Heaven forbid! A pretty good movie by the way.

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  12. Oooooh! Can't wait for the US release!

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  13. Thanks Eric- hopefully I will catch this movie when it reaches NZ

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  14. She is such a great singer and I am a great fun. Thank you for the bonus songs. Can't wait to see it!

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  15. Avec mes souvenirs.. mmm i love Edith Piaf. When i was quite young i used to sing Non, je ne regrette rien, learned all the words and thought i sounded truly French!!! I love the song and the sentiment. It takes courage to have no regrets, i've always thought so. I would adore to see this film but doubt it will be released in the UK. Only French films i've seen in the cinema usually are of a dubious nature! Such a shame.
    Thank you for this, Eric, it is a treat to hear it again and i shall return to it many times.

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  16. Isabella,
    I was in hysterics when I read that you "balled" like a baby in the dark recesses of the museum. I don't think babies can ball until they get a bit older. I bawled with laughter after that statement. Did you do it on purpose? That sounds like a Lynn trick to me. We're off to Paris in a few hours. We are trying to squeeze in the film while we are there.

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  17. Monica in Rio,
    Thank you so much for those words. As a novice to the french language, it is such a thrill to hear, and see, the words. You have helped me enormously. Merci beaucoup Madame.

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  18. M.Benaut, Je vous en prie! I´m a novice to the language too, I know what a delight it is to read the words. And this lyric is amazing, n´est ce pas?!

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  19. Certainement, cher Monica. J'apprécie cette musique d'Edith Piaf beaucoup. Je pense qu'eric a donné beaucoup de plaisir à ses amis. J'écoute cette belle musique, tout par la nuit ! !

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  20. I find that even today if you ask an American to name a French chanteuse, they'll have never heard of Diams or Laurie, but will be able to name Piaf. I'm going to see this movie tonight accompanied by a box of kleenex because I fully expect to bawl, sob, cry and all the above.

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  21. Great post and I can't wait to see the movie. Any idea about when a US release will be?

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  22. Even though I was never a huge fan, I certainly can acknowledge her immense talent. A couple of things about her presence in my life when I was growing up in France:
    1. My godmother, whom I worshiped, adored her.
    2. The song "L'Homme à la moto used to spook the hell out of me when I was little, maybe five or six years old.
    3. I still know all the words to "Milord."
    4. My favorite Piaf song is "Mon manège à moi," a song whose lyrics were written by one of my very favorite French musician, Jean Constantin (1923-1997.)
    5. I once read or heard somewhere that she penned the lyrics of "L'hymne à l'amour" (one of her greatest songs, in my honest opinion) within minutes after having heard that her lover, the boxer Marcel Cerdan, had been killed in an airplane crash (October 28, 1949.)
    6. When he death was announced on October 11, 1963 (she had died on the previous day - Jean Cocteau had died on Oct. 11), I was a student in a catholic boarding school, and the nun who sat at my table in the cafeteria made this nasty comment: "Eh bien, comme cela elle ne piaffera plus." (well, then, she will not "piaffer" anymore." ["piaffer" is "to prance," "to trot," or "to strut" for a horse."]) I remember really resenting that comment.

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  23. LOL Johnny Parsons - was it just a typo or could it be that it was late when I wrote the comment... and it was Valentine's...so maybe it was a Freudian slip ;-)))
    Bon voyage!

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  24. Eric! I'm coming out of lurkdom. I've been following your blog for quite a while, seeing your pics is always a highlight of my day. My parents and I were born in France but have made Canada our home for the past 35 years. Hence why I enjoy your blog for a little look into my homeland.

    I grew up listening to Piaf, my dad's favorite singer of all times. Read her life story numerous times. Thanks for letting me know about this movie, will look forward to possibly seeing it on this side of the pond

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  25. Am I a fan of La Mome? Is the Pope Catholic?

    I'm also a fan of Robyn Archer. I heard her on the radio not long ago and thought her Piaf imitation was terrific. I didn't quite realise she was from Oz, interesting.....

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  26. Fascinating! I adore Edith, and so I will have to be sure that I check out the film -- thanks for the "heads up" and for having such a wonderful blog about my favorite place on Planet Earth -- Paris! Tres bien!

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  27. What a coincidence..last night in the US on TV5-Monde the program "Jour de Fete" had an interview with Marion Cotillard, who plays Piaf in the film.."La Mome"!! Formidable!! If you have TV5-Monde it will air again tonight, Thursday, 15 Feb 2007..check your listings, but in Californie it will be 01:16 hours[1:16AM-Friday morning, 16 Feb]...I supppose you could tape it! The interview was great, they showed clips from the film and discussed the transformation of this young actress[Cotillard]into the legendary Piaf!


    *Elisabeth: That was a great story...merci for sharing!!!!

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  28. For Stu Harris:
    Robyn Archer is not only from Oz but from ADELAIDE! Come and visit our AdelaideDP and see our beautiful city.

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  29. I have enjoyed the two documentaries about Piaf that one can rent from Netflix.

    Ujima, anxiously awaiting the U.S. release of the film

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  30. mme benaut, I've seen Marion Cotillard in Taxi or Love me if you dare (Jeux d'enfants). I didn't say I don't like her, I am just not sure she does the part for Piaf. She is hot, very feminine and sensual where Piaf was nothing of the above.
    Nice challenge for an actress... Let's wait and see.

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  31. I like this view, I feel like I'm in the audience, up close near the stage, at one of her shows.

    bv: maybe Marion Cotillard was cast because "hot, very feminine and sensual" will bring more people into the movie theatre ;0

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  32. Though never really crazy about Piaf, one does have to accept that she is, together with Montand, of a caliber in the entertainment world in France that just doesn't exist anymore. They attribute to her a tenderness and fragility that I don't really see, in old documentary clips, or photographs. But there is certainly strength and joy and pathos galore in her singing.
    This is not the first film biography of La Piaf, but promises to be better than its predecessor of a few years ago.

    Danesh Bharucha

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  33. "L'hymne à l'amour", "L'hymne à l'amour", "L'hymne à l'amour" et mon coeur il pleure.

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  34. Great. I grew up minutes away from the home she was born at, rue de Belleville. There is a sign on the building to this day that says she was born on the stairs of the pavement... can you have more street cred' than that !!
    Visitors to the Pere Lachaise should come and check out the 72 rue de Belleville... make sure you have dinner in a good asian or north african restaurant in the area...

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  35. I adore Edith Piaf and always have. Loved the book written about her and visited the Belleville area where she was born on the pavement.
    Had read about this movie just today on somebody else's blog and they said it will be available in the US in June. I can't wait to see it!

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  36. Well, unlike most of you I HAVE seen the movie, in a packed house in Rodez, which is rare on a Monday night. At the end of the film, the silence and malaise were palpable. I'm not saying the film isn't good, but it's a definite downer. And I don't think her artistic and musical talent are developed enough. Huge Piaf fans may be disappointed. I was left thinking, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf...all cut from the same cloth, really.

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  37. I had the privilege of seeing the fabulous movie. Marion did an excellent job. She deserves the Academy Award and more. Jil Aigrot had to sing the old songs of the 30's and 40's because the original recordings were too bad. She did a great job. The rest were sung by Edith, herself. Her voice still gives me goosebumps after all these years. BV, poor boy, just doesn't recognize talent. Marion was superb and was great in "A good Year".

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  40. Just got home from the cinema, and Marion Cotillard's performance is simply amazing. I liked her well enough before, but no more or no less than many other young French actresses. This role was career-defining and she pulled it off brilliantly.

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  41. I am living in Paris and wondered if the film will be shown here with subtitles for her new fans who do not have complete understanding of the french language?

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  42. Edith à Marcel (extraits) :

    "Je suis sans idée sans rien, j'ai l'air d'attendre un événement. Sers-moi fort contre ton coeur et dis-toi que rien au monde ne compte plus pour moi que toi."

    "Mon coeur se couche 24h sur 24h dans les bras de la tristesse."

    "Quand je m'aperçois la place que tiennent dans ton coeur ta femme et tes trois enfants, j'ai envie de partir très loin, en me disant que peut-être un jour, tu me seras reconnaissante de l'avoir fait. Je ne peux te vouloir pour moi seule et je ne vivrais pas sans toi. Dieu m'est témoin que dans cette histoire, je ne demande rien."

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