Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Je ne regrette riiiiieeeenn!!

I seem to be film-fixated at the moment, don't I?? Wellll, Blockbuster have a good deal where you can get 3 DVDS for £7 for the whole week, and I couldn't resist, hence my recent viewings of Devil Wears Prada and Transamerica. There's nowt nicer than curling up on the sofa with some choccie, your loved one and a good movie.

However last night I actually went to the cinema!! A rarity these days. This time it was to see "La Vie En Rose", the recently released biopic of French singer/chanteuse Edith Piaf. I'm not really a fan of her music/voice - she has a kind of screechy, caterwauling vocal that sounds like a cat being strangled - sorry, Edith fans. Although I will concede that songs like "La Vie En Rose" and "Je Ne Regrette Rien" have a definite iconic status as well as resonances for gay people. And it can't be denied that Ms Piaf is a legend in her own right with a diva-ish reputation, so for all these reasons I decided to see the movie.

Actually I found the film pretty gruelling to watch. It was very well acted and faithful to the period - early 1900s France through to the early 1960s which covers the (all too brief) span of Edith Piaf's life. Marion Cotillard who plays Edith was amazing and bears an uncanny resemblance to the real star, who was always very unusual-looking with her staring eyes and wildly unconventional looks. I think it's the fact that Edith had such a tragic life that makes the film so difficult to watch! She's brought up on the streets of Paris by her prostitute mother, who then disowns her at an early age; after which she's raised in a brothel; then her acrobat father forces her to accompany him with a travelling circus and soon abandons her too; later on she's forced to sing on the street to earn a living (which does at least lead to a bona fide career as a singer); the great love of her life is killed in a plane crash...and then she gets arthritis and dies (relatively) young! Nice, eh? As I said this all makes for quite depressing viewing, and there aren't many laughs or lighthearted moments. The whole sordidness of the Parisian life that we see early on is particularly hard to bear and overall there's a grim, dour feel about the film.
But on the other hand that's inevitable given the nature of the subject and the movie can at least be applauded for the uncompromising way in which it deals with its topic - there's not much Hollywood-style sugaring of the pill here. And it's not as if they could have realistically made up the facts about Edith's life. So, a decent enough biopic of "The Sparrow" though probably not a film I'd voluntarily sit through again.


  • At 1:35 am , Blogger matty said...

    I almost saw this film.

    I can't believe you don't love Ms. Piaf's voice!!! I love it!

    ...but I guess, like wine, it is an acquired taste and one must ask, "why does one have to work at liking something?!!?"

    ...my hesitation from seeing the movie was the rating it received here in the US. It scored a PG-13. And, it seems to be that any faithful telling of Ms. Piaf's sad life would far no less than an R rating or even an NC-17/X rating. The woman's live was a reckless mess.

    Was the exploration of her early life in a brothel and her bi tendencies shown in an honest way?!?!?

    You've got me all curious!

    Edith. ...the French Judy.

  • At 7:13 am , Blogger Steve said...

    Karen and I are both very tempted by this film likewise The Devil Wears Prada - every time I see shots of Meryl Streep from this movie it makes me think of Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmations.

  • At 6:37 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Matty - Nah, never been a fan of Piaf's vocals - more of a Kate Bush fan! Even though she has her dissenters! I suppose I should check out some of Ms Piaf's music. She's nothing if not individual.

    You could be right - in fact I'm sure I commented on the rating too - only a 12 in the UK - therefore restricting the material. The stuff in the brothel was pretty honest - I mean you didn't SEE much but it was obvious what was going on. There was nowt about Ms P's bisexuality though.

    Steve - You should definitely see it but be prepared to be a bit depressed. "Devil" is rather more your usual Hollywood fare! (Still what am I talking about - "La Vie" is a French art movie anyway!)


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