Variety has a nice little profile on Marion in its latest issue. The trade magazine goes out on a limb and predicts that (gasp!) Marion is an Oscar contender! Here's an excerpt:
"When I saw that the fourth day of shooting for me was a scene in 1960 when she hears the song 'No Regrets,' I was really scared," Cotillard says. But getting the climax out of the way early proved an unexpected blessing. "If we had saved the aging for the end of the movie, I would have been paralyzed with fear." More...
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Another excerpt from the film. This time Louis Leplée (Piaf's first benefactor and played here by the great Gérard Depardieu) christens Edith Giovanna Gassione as La Môme Piaf ("the little sparrow" or so I think it translates). But it looks like Edith is more impressed with the fact that Leplée has had a manicure.
Is it just me, or does Leplée's lapdog look just like Peter Saarsgard in one of his patented effete performances? God, I love that guy.
The greatest filmmaker in history, Ingmar Bergman, has passed away. I've been a big fan for the past 15 years. I read his autobiography, "The Magic Lantern," and found the man to be exemplary and brutally honest. This is truly a great loss.
Bergman with the late great Sven Nykvist
Here's another excerpt. Let me set the scene for those who haven't seen the film yet. Here we have a young Edith and her best friend, Momone, in the streets of Paris. Edith, like her mother before her, sings for her supper (literally). But--uh oh--I think I see a cop heading their way! Hilarity ensues:
OK, so not hilarious, but very sweet. By the way, I believe this is one of the several songs where Jil Aigrot provides her powerful voice in a valiant approximation of La Piaf herself.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
From The New Yorker: "Cotillard gives an amazing performance: frail and, at times, bent (Piaf suffered from arthritis), she can look terrified and vicious simultaneously, and she goes all the way with the writer-director Olivier Dahan’s concept, which emphasizes Piaf’s suffering as a child and young woman and her monstrousness as an adult." More...
I may have to finally get a subscription to this rag.
According to Box Office Mojo, "La Vie En Rose" has grossed more than $8M in the North American market. The film is in the North American top 20 right now, almost two months after its initial release. It's called staying power.
Here are the latest figures:
Worldwide Total: $70,038,416
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Marion: "After spending so long watching, listening to and loving her, I often had the impression she was there. I was so deeply steeped in the way she moved and spoke, down to the tiniest inflections of her voice, that it was as if she existed within me." More...
Check out the following fansite: Presenting Marion Cotillard. It's apparently in the process of being updated, but it has some lovely features and better yet, loads of photos--but beware, you can get lost in there for hours!
My favorite part, however, is the interview from (where else?) Interview magazine.
I came across a review, this time from the Phoenix New Times. While it praises Marion's performance, it failed to appreciate the film itself--something I've grown accustomed to in the past few weeks.
"In a sense, every scene in La Vie En Rose is a holding pattern for the next ballad, which would reduce the movie to a musical were it not for Cotillard's command of character. Though she's far prettier than Piaf at any age and has to be heavily made up to come close to the bug-eyed jolie-laide that was la Môme, Cotillard not only has her fluttery mannerisms down, but the fragile sense of self that kept her always on the edge." More...
A thought I had:
Acting as an art form is primarily about transformation. The greatest of actors undertake astonishing feats of metamorphosis. The results often vary, but when one completely succeeds, it is shocking, moving, and in turn transforms the audience.
Unquestionably, Marion has achieved this with her performance in "La Vie En Rose." And in the process, she has elevated the art form.
"Her performance is highly physical; as a young Piaf she hunches over and shuffles when she walks, huge blue eyes darting frantically. Once Piaf becomes more successful, Cotillard plays her with an uplifted chin and an acquired hauteur to her movements. Finally, she plays the dying Piaf beautifully, retaining a spark in her eye even while she is covered in (surprisingly convincing) ageing [sic] makeup, shuffling once again due to illness." More...
PS. In this review the writer states that Mômone was Edith's half-sister. I thought they were best friends. Did I miss something?
Friday, July 27, 2007
So I'm back in New York after my bar-exam-taking trip. There's only one thing I could think of to properly celebrate: check out "La Vie En Rose" again. It certainly does wonders. I can't get over how brilliant Marion is in it. I came to it knowing exactly what was going to happen, and yet I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. I also noticed a few things I hadn't noticed before, for example the fact that Dahan used a continuous shot in not one but two sequences in the film (spoiler alert: first, when the soldier plays a song for Edith and second, when Edith learns that Marcel's plane crashed, end of spoiler). How he managed to block them is beyond me, but it looks absolutely effortless on the screen.
In any case, bravo to everyone involved! May you continue rocking people's socks off forever.
PS. If you squint enough you'll be able to make out "La Vie En Rose" at the top of the marquee of my local art house, the Kew Gardens Cinema, yo.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I have been unable to update the blog due to my inane (that's not a typo) decision to take another bar exam. Well, the exam is this Thursday--so I'll be back to my regularly scheduled self thereabouts. In the meantime, cheers and viva Marion! :-)
Saturday, July 21, 2007
The power of film never ceases to amaze me. Case in point, here's a review of La Vie En Rose from Father Nicholas Schofield. I especially appreciate his interesting take on the religious elements of the film.
The Village Voice interviewed Marion this past June. The notoriously bitchy paper (I mean that in a good way...sorta) didn't like the film so much, but was clearly impressed with Marion. In what's come to be expected, Marion works her charm and in the process gives some insight into her creative process. More interestingly, we are made privy to some of the parallels between her life and Piaf's as well as the differences.
"Well, I didn't have a miserable childhood, as she did. But I grew up in a poor and working-class suburb of Paris, in the projects. When I was little, it was great, everybody's door was open all the time. There were Chileans, North Africans—you got to know a lot of different cultures and people who were managing to survive on very little money."More...
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I like the sound of that. Another rave for Mlle Cotillard, this time from KansasCity.com.
"Physically Cotillard, a drop-dead beautiful woman, somehow transforms herself into the diminutive, scrawny-legged Piaf (who really did resemble a sparrow). It’s not just a matter of wigs and makeup but rather of body language of a most exalted order." More...
Can someone OD on praise? Nah, this stuff is gold :)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
"The camera adores Cotillard's face; she's more of a stunner than Piaf herself (and Dahan can't be blamed for wanting to look at her forever), but what really matters is magnetism. The endlessly allusive, ruefully jaunty charisma radiating from her heavy-lidded eyes seems congruent with that of the sparrow's voice, which Cotillard lip-synchs easily and impressively. Better still, she makes good, strong choices to show how the life Piaf absorbed informed the artist she became. Actually, the actor is much more efficient about this than her director, who inclines to saturating every scene with decadent gestures and dwelling on the significance of heavy emotions. Such bracingly vinegary music doesn't need so honeyed an elaboration." More...
"I'm not the first to say it and I won't be the last. Cotillard is a natural for a Best Actress Oscar nomination for this role. She ages from teenager to grave. At one chilling moment, as she is about to make her 1960 comeback with the song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," bowed over with arthritis, we learn that she is just 45 years old. It was three years before her death. That's the stuff of which Oscars are made." More...
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
OK, so I found a link to some video feeds from last Spring's Berlinale where "La Vie En Rose" made its international debut. Well, this is just...sheer madness. I have never seen anything like it in my life. It was truly a disturbing insight into (a) fame and (b) objectification. Though, come to think of it, aren't those mutually exclusive?
The moment when Marion stands all by herself is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. What drives the press? (Besides the obvious answer of money). It's simply something that must be seen in order to fully grasp what I'm trying (without much success) to articulate.
Here's the link. Click on "Press Conference." It takes a while for it to start, so you'll be faced with some dead air for two or three minutes (thankfully you can scan forward).
I had a thought recently--how appropriate would it be for Marion to win an Academy Award next year. It is an Oscar ceremony tradition that the Best Actor winner from the previous year present the Best Actress award during the ceremony. Should Marion win, which, let's face it, is pretty much all sewn up lest she kill a puppy, her Oscar would be presented by Forest Whitaker. Why is this meaningful, you ask? Well, Forest and Marion co-starred in Abel Ferrara's Mary a couple of years ago.
How cool would that be?
Here's a short interview from a French TV Show. I must confess, my favorite part is the footage of the French (?) Idol contestant singing Piaf. Hilarious.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Well, here's an interesting find; a lovely performance of Edith Piaf's "Milord," by none other than Mlle Cotillard and her friend, pop star Jenifer. It's followed by a quick interview with the show's hosts. The footage is in French (sans subtitles), but the subjects are so beautiful that it really doesn't matter whether I can fully understand them or not. You'll get the point.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Here's another rave for Cotillard, this time from The Post and Courier. Side note: I have to say, this blog has opened my eyes to just how many media outlets there are out there. I mean, I normally keep to the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vanity Fair, and Time. If I'm feeling a bit fresh, I will venture onto the USA Today website, no shame in that. But this is insane. Jeez.
In any case, here's a taste:
Marion Cotillard takes the role of a lifetime, one writ large, and makes it her own. Her portrait of Piaf is one for the ages, as much alchemy as performance. The same actress who stood eye to eye with Russell Crowe in "A Good Year" seems to have diminished in height right before our eyes, channeling then becoming the diminutive Piaf across a range of age from her 20s to her death, grievously ill and decrepit at only 48. Even in youth Piaf was stooped, slumped-shouldered, with huge, haunted eyes. Cotillard gets it all, impeccably. Not since Albert Finney played Hercule Poirot to the hilt in "Murder on the Orient Express" has an actor worked this kind of magic on screen. But the physical, impressive as it is, takes back seat to a tour de force of emotional range. If from time to time the work feels a trifle over the top, well, so was Piaf. More...
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Here's another video interview of Marion where she discusses her preparation for "La Vie En Rose."
I really need to learn French. I maybe picked up 45% of what she's saying, and that's being generous, so if anyone cares to translate (either to English or Spanish), that'd be fantastic.
But seriously, I promise to go back and study the language, which, to my ears, is the most exquisite one in the world.
I must give props to Stephen Schaefer from the Boston Herald who is on the record as the first person predicting Marion's Oscar chances. He did so six months ago, before the Oscar ceremony where Helen Mirren was awarded with her well-deserved statue. Check out Mr. Schaefer's write up on "La Vie En Rose:"
"What makes “La Vie en Rose” so satisfying is how Dahan, propelled by Cotillard’s go-for-broke fearlessness, manages to keep a story that’s been told many times fresh and, somehow, more relevant than ever seemed possible." More...
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Check out a lovely video interview with Mlle Cotillard, courtesy of AwardsDaily. It took me a while to "get" the interviewer, but he's acting exactly as I would have right after seeing the film.
And a nice extended trailer for "La Vie En Rose"
Gosh, I think I'll go see this film again this weekend!
"Edith Piaf died at the early age of forty-seven. Marion Cotillard, who plays Piaf in the film, believes it was Piaf’s sheer intensity that led to her early death. She lived and loved fully; this film goes a long way in demonstrating that intensity. La Vie en Rose gives the viewer insight into who Piaf really was, with traces of comedy amidst the tragedy." More...
From The Daily Telegraph: It's easy to imagine Cotillard getting an Oscar nomination for La Vie En Rose. Should this not happen, the French would be quite entitled to revolt. More...
Generally, I'm a pacifist, but in this case I'd make an exception as well. I just saw "Les Misérables" on Broadway last night, so I'm particularly amiable to a revolution.
In any case, I'm glad that a lot of the critics are starting to "get" Dahan's story-telling choices (which the Telegraph insightfully terms as "fractured"). Count this review among the very few who single out both protagonist and film as singular works of art.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I came across an interesting article regarding Picturehouse's decision to put out "La Vie En Rose" in the summer as opposed to a more award-season friendly Fall release. Some found this decision questionable, as Oscar history reflects a short-term memory when it comes time to award the golden dude. Rest assured, there will be a major push for Mlle Cotillard:
"I really believe that foreign-language films are better off earlier in the summer, where we had a clear shot in getting established," Berney continues. "I think the fall is just incredibly scary. Opening up in early June and going out in DVD for award season is a good plan," contends Berney, who openly acknowledges the company's scheme to push French sensation Marion Cotillard for a Best Actress Oscar nomination next year." More...
Sunday, July 8, 2007
...to this earnest look at rising star Marion Cotillard. The purpose of the blog is two-fold. First, since I’m an Oscar fan, and always tend to follow the race pretty closely, I figured why not memorialize my crazy obsession. Second, after seeing “La Vie En Rose,” I realized that the Best Actress race is pretty much sewn up. As many others, I was incredibly moved by Ms. Cotillard’s performance. I left the theater stunned, with the final notes of the haunting “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” reverberating all through my body. I had heard the word “electrifying” many times before, but this was truly my first time experiencing that word. And so I found the complementary reason for starting this blog–Ms. Cotillard and her inevitable road to Oscar. I hope to keep track of all the news and awards she’s sure to accumulate for her astonishing performance. Although I’ll mostly focus my musings on Ms. Cotillard, I’m sure I’ll wax poetic on the other categories from time to time. Next up, I plan to write down my thoughts about “La Vie En Rose.” I hope you enjoy your stay here–and leave a comment if you are so inclined. Cheers!