‘La Vie en Rose’ is one of my favourite French films and the signature song of the legendary singer Edith Piaf, whose real name was Edith Giovanna Gassion. The film is the incredible journey of her life and rise to fame, told with great sensitivity by Marion Cotillard.
It was the first French film to win more than one Oscar award- one for Marion’s Make Up artists, responsible for transforming Cotillard into Piaf’s double with sheer brilliance, the other for Cotillard as the superb Best Actress. Edith Piaf”s spirit comes to life within Cotillard’s delicate skeleton and Edith’s dynamic voice is behind her impeccable lip synching.
I have always been inspired by Piaf. I feel her story needs to be heard.
She was born in Paris in 1915 but spent a sickly childhood in a brothel, having been abandoned by her parents- her father, a French circus acrobat who later disappeared into the French Army and a mother, an Italian singer.
As a little girl, Piaf fought many battles, one was temporary blindness but her singing talent was undeniable even then. She earned money by singing on the streets of Paris like a million others- afterall, this was Hemingway’s Paris! A time when artists and musicians were all desperately seeking fame. (Gertrude Stein used the name, “Lost Generation” to describe them at the time.) It wasn’t long before the talented Piaf was discovered by a night club owner.
However, tragedy and popularity went hand in hand for Piaf. By 16 she had married and had a baby girl who died at two of meningitis which broke her heart.
Not long afterwards, her popularity escalated on the stage as she became the main attraction at Paris music halls, cabarets and radio stations before touring internationally with soaring fame. During this time, Edith Piaf showed such strength of character and remained fiercely passionate about her beloved country. She defiantly supported the work of Jewish musicians during the Paris occupation by Nazi Germany and she worked tirelessly for French prisoners of war.
Finally, the love of her life however was killed in a plane crash which proved too much for her to bear.Her spirit was finally crushed and she sought refuge in morphine and alcohol to which she finally fell addictive.
The French film, ‘La Vie En Rose,’ encapsulates the pure passion of this diminuitive French girl (standing only 4’8in) lovingly referred to as “the little sparrow.” She could belt out songs with such raw emotion and amazing talent that it comes to no surprise to discover that Edith Piaf has been named one of THE voices of the twentienth century. Just take a listen to the final scene of ‘La Vie en Rose’…
Her rise to stardom as a world class performer from an origin so gloomy is captivating. She reminds us that anything in life is possible as long as you have the passion. My french awakening to Piaf inspired me to design a quilt in her honor and I hope she would approve in some small way.
My quilt pattern and color choice is bold and of course, in shades of pink! Why? Because using supremely bold floral fabrics and dazzling stripes in shades of pink and cherry red, serve to emphasise the translation of “La Vie En Rose” which means “To See Life In Pink.
Take a look…
I love her voice. I believe in the motto. Optimism rules.
If you would like to buy the quilt pattern go to www.quiltingthejourney.com
Best Wishes, Therese Waddell
copyright@ Therese Waddell 2011