La Vie en Rose

“You can’t do this.” “I can’t? Then what’s the point of being Edith Piaf?"

We conclude our Guess the Connection series with Olivier Dahan’s 2007 biopic “La Vie en Rose.” Do you know what connection this film has with our previous three — Syriana, Million Dollar Baby and L.A. Confidential? If so, listen to the end of this episode to hear what you need to do to win a Next Reel t-shirt!

Biopics come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Olivier Dahan’s film “La Vie en Rose” detailing the life of Edith Piaf, one of France’s greatest singers and international stars, is a whirlwind of a film. Unlike biopics that tell the story linearly, this one wraps its audience in and proceeds to take them on a wild ride all through Piaf’s sadly short life, not so much focused on chronology as much as an emotional journey. It’s a brazen way to tell the story but one that mostly works. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we conclude our 4-part Guess the Connection series with Dahan’s 2007 Oscar-winning film “La Vie en Rose.” We talk about Marion Cotillard’s performance, which drives this film and is, in our minds, the reason to watch it. We touch on the other performers, notably Gerard Depardieu and Emmanuelle Seigner, but how all of them are truly dwarfed by Cotillard’s performance. We discuss the nature of biopics and how this story structure works in the world of this subgenre, then debate which type of biopic we find more successful. We chat about the cinematography by Tetsuo Nagata and how great it looks, along with several specific scenes that unfold in very creative ways. And we talk about Piaf’s songs and Christopher Gunning’s score, looking at the balance between the two and how the film doesn’t feel the need to overwhelm us with every Piaf song out there. It’s a strong story because of Piaf’s life and Cotillard’s performance and we have a great time talking about it. Tune in!

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