Archive for July 17th, 2007

La Vie en Rose: the life of The Little Sparrow Edith Piaf (and perhaps the best performance I’ve witnessed!)

July 17, 2007

la vie en rose


This movie isn’t so much a story about Edith Piaf, it was hardly a movie in any conventional sense of the word. It was more of a meditation, a remembering. If you can imagine one of the greatest singers of all time on her death bed, crippled, virtually alone and suddenly remembering everything from her life, just as Charles Foster Kane’s tragic life was given to us, only it comes without an interviewer or narration and it is revealed to us in starts and fits, jumping around wildly, seeing everything without a filter, all the goods and the bads, the rights and wrongs. Like a song it is alive, it flows and tells. “La Vie en Rose” is Edith Piaf’s soul bared naked before the audience.

And it’s a soul you don’t necessarily fall in love with, but to talk further about that I feel I must talk about the shining center. It seems to be the “in thing” to say right now “Marrion Cotillard is brilliant, but the movie isn’t as good.” It’s true Marrion Cotillard is beyond brilliant as Edith Piaf, as an actor, without hesitation and every moment she bares her own soul, and makes almost every performance I can think of look pale in comparison. With a single look her doe-like eyes that peer upward, mouth curled in a meek smile, her teeth jutting out slightly, she breaks your heart. She embodies everything about Piaf, at every age…from a brash and raucous 20-year old singing in bars that can barely survive, to a boisterously obnoxious diva at the height of her career (the type of person you would notice from your own dinner table and be annoyed with), to a withering 47-year-old with liver cancer who had lost more than her fair share, all you ever see is Piaf, all you ever hear is Piaf. It is only fitting to cast someone as passionately involved in their character as Piaf was in her music. I was astonished to see a picture of Cotillard in the new issue of Fade In, she looks absolutely nothing like the character she plays. Without her performance the film itself would not thrive as it does.


Post Birthday Depression

July 17, 2007

I had a nice relaxing birthday…so why am I depressed? Read on.

What is a Birthday without discovery? Just to go out and party or get drunk seems to be a waste of a day to me. What do you learn from that, what do you take with you into your next year of life? A glass of alcohol only works for inspiration with the greatest writers and then that’s all you would be doing is drinking…every day…all the time. Imagine how many novels you could get through in the haze of a drunken year. Me none, as hangovers absolutely take the life out of me. So instead I seek to discover new things, in hopes to discover something new about myself, even if it’s simply that I greatly dislike something new.

The first stop was LACMA at about 11:00a.m. Before stepping into all of the typical galleries of paintings and vietnampottery we happened upon an exhibit by someone I had never heard of, DAN FLAVIN. Flavin was an artist that created a lot of his work in the 50s, 60s and 70s, but he didn’t work with brushes or clay, he worked with fluorescent lights of various colors. I would consider his work strictly modern, and at first the idea was almost laughable to my friend and I, especially with some of his simpler formations. Oh, how clever that he took a white fluorescent light and put it at an angle against a wall! But as you walked through the exhibit, they became more visually complex and quite beautiful to look at. Long hallways were placed here and there and halfway down the hall was a wall made of green fluorescents facing the person and facing away yellow fyellow wallluorescents. Another room had some blood red lights positioned creatively in the corner. It’s really hard to describe something simple without making it seem silly. We walked down a long hall of blue fluorescents that were placed along the walls and ceiling in opposing formations and I became dizzy. From the side of the hall with the yellows halfway down, we finally saw the true brilliance of the way it was all set up. The pink on the other side dissolved against the far white wall into an almost purple, then two of the previous rooms in the distance were segmented by colors, blue and green. I almost started drooling. One of the rooms had a long wall of green squares that came to about waist height and cut you off from the other half of the long room. It was quite resplendent (I’ve been wanting to use that word for a long time.)

green wall