Olivier Dahan’s la Môme

La Môme (which takes the title La Vie en rose in English), is a 2007 biopic directed by Olivier Dahan, which retraces the life of famous French singer Edith Piaf. The eponymous protagonist is played by Marion Cotillard, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance, making her only the third French woman ever to have been awarded this accolade.

The film begins with scenes from Piaf’s unhappy childhood, during which, with no steady home to depend on, she is made firstly to live in a brothel, and later, to travel round with a circus. Recreating the moment at which she first sang in front of an audience, La Môme then follows the trajectory of Piaf’s career, right up to the end of her life, when, famous and popular but also ill and lonely, she performs her famous ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’. Along the way we are made privy to her personal joys, torments, loves and heartbreaks, gaining an unadulterated, even unsettling image of the true woman behind the famous songs. To convey this impression, Marion Cotillard transforms her physicality and her manner, embodying Edith Piaf so successfully that her real self is completely unrecognisable. It is perhaps for this reason that as well as two Oscars, she won a Golden Globe and a César Award for her performance.

La Môme is a striking film which takes one of the most well-known singers in the history of French music and reveals the reality of her life and her work, meaning that our knowledge of her career becomes more of a true understanding than a vague apprehension based on clichés. Therefore, if you want to learn more about a French culture which escapes stereotypes and romanticism, this is a great film to watch!

You can see a trailer for La Môme here!