Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wishlist Wednesday: All Things Edith

Last week, I finally saw La Vie En Rose, the biopic of Edith Piaf. I watched it twice, then watched all the special features. The documentary was in French with Korean subtitles, but at that point, I didn't care; I was smitten. It's all about Edith. Even as we speak, I'm playing Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien on youtube. Over and over. The version I like best is a color home movie made in 1961. The piano player, Charles Dumont (who also wrote the music) is hot. I love the way he hammers the keys after Edith sings (en Francaise) They're all the same to me... Whoo...makes me want to turn in my American passport at the French border. In addition, Piaf is so tiny (maybe 4 ft. 10?) and compelling and defiant in her black dress and tiny red shoes. Only two years after that home movie, she would die at 47, officially from liver cancer, but probably more because of her long-seated twin addictions to alcohol and heroin.

I hit Kyobo Books after book group last week, but forgot to go downstairs to Hot Tracks and look for the soundtrack to La Vie En Rose, so I was a bit vexed with myself during the bus ride back to Gumi. Obviously, I was in a forgiving mood, because I somehow ended up at amazon the next day and treated myself to A Cry From The Heart: The Biography Of Edith Piaf by Margaret Crosland. When the A&E show, Biography, did a documentary on Piaf, (which I watched with Greek subtitles, courtesy of youtube) they interviewed Crosland extensively, and she was marvelous -- slightly grim and gruff, but loads of sympathy for her subject.

Piaf has cast a spell over me with her voice. No kidding. I want to read about her, watch her on youtube, listen to CDs of her music, have Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien or Milord as my ringtone, buy a black dress, learn French then move to Paris and sit at sidewalk cafes all day long and shabby little nightclubs all night long. Did I mention my longing for French food, beginning with hot, crusty French baguettes and something pungent and semi-soft in a cheese? Bring on the escargot! And wine, of course! Bottles and bottles; bring the whole lot to my small but cozy Paris flat, with its bookshelves crammed to bursting with French authors.

How did this happen? Summer madness? Crazy from the heat? The French probably have a word or phrase for it and Edith Piaf probably had a song about it.

12 comments:

bkclubcare said...

I loved LOVED that movie but didn't quite get into the trance you are in. (I had the Oscar-Fever of trying to watch 3 movies a day in prep for the Academy Awards) Your Paris dream is terrific.

J.Danger said...

You've got me hooked! I want to go with you!

Eva said...

I loooooove Edith Piaf-when I was in Russia, I bought a pirated CD with all of her albums on it, and listened to them over and over and pretty much felt exactly like you. But then all my CDs were stolen. :( And for some reason, almost three years later, I still can't quite bring myself to buy CDs I used to own, so I don't have Edith anymore. But this post makes me want to go buy one of her CDs Right Now!!

Tara said...

I adore Edith's voice and have a wonderful CD. I haven't seen the film though. Should add that to the list.

Bookfool said...

I don't know how it happened, but it's a pretty good obsession if you ask me. I'd tag along with you to Paris. I've been there, briefly. The food was spectacular.

Sam Houston said...

Je Ne Regrette Rien is one of my favorite songs in the world.

I've been known to drive my wife into a murderous frenzy by playing it a dozen times in a row. :-)

Lenore said...

I do sorta want to see this movie, but it somehow seems like it might be too heavy.

herschelian said...

Years ago as a teenager I was hooked on Piaf's singing. My parents had records of all her songs. Then I read a biography of Piaf, it was fascinating. One of the things I remember from it was that she never washed her underwear, she just wore it until she felt it was dirty/smelly and then chucked it out and wore new items! A woman much damaged by her childhood, she really suited her nickname The Little Sparrow.

John Mutford said...

Now I'm off to track down some Piaf music-- thanks in advance.

Robin said...

I love Edith Piaf!! My father always sang La Vie en Rose as I was growing up, so it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. I also have a lovely CD of her singing all those wonderful songs. What a fun post!

jupitersinclair said...

I have a bit of a Parisian obsession,too. I loved loved loved Ma Vie en Rose. I remember I reviewed it one my (former) blog when I watched it and couldn't quite figure out what to say about it and somehow reduced it to talking about knitting (?!!?!?) LOL

Carrie K said...

La Vie En Rose was the only movie I'd seen that was in the Oscars this year. Wasn't it fabulous? I've loved Edith Piaf since my 7th grade French teacher used to alternate between her and Jacques Brel's songs in class.

Your Parisian obsession sounds lovely. Call me if you need company at the sidewalk cafe.