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Jul 2006
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from The Post and Courier (US) / by Bill Thompson

Expect to see a lot more of young French actress Marion Cotillard (Tim Burton’s “Big Fish”) in the near future, what with two high-profile projects en route to our shores.

First she stars as the legendary chanteuse Edith Piaf in Oliver Dahan’s “La Vie En Rose,” followed by the lead in Ridley Scott’s just-finished “A Good Year,” based on novelist (and nonfiction writer) Peter Mayle’s tale of Provence.

Cotillard, 30, stars in the latter as the owner of a restaurant who draws the attention of British expatriate Max Skinner (Russell Crowe).

Established French stars Audrey Tautou, Eva Green and Emmanuelle Beart could be looking over their collective shoulders at the new competition, provided Cotillard doesn’t chuck the whole movie business to make her part-time work for Greenpeace a full-time endeavor.

Jul 2006
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Welcome to my little tribute page for Marion Cotillard. I’m very excited about her at the moment. I’ll keep this page really small – she has such a huge body of work that I couldn’t possibly keep up with it on a large scale. Feedback and contributions etc is very welcome! There’s still a little problem with my site host. Until then – no gallery. But it shouldn’t take too long and you’ll be able to enjoy pictures of Marion Cotillard as well!

Jul 2006
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According to CinemaPassion.Com Marion Cotillard will star in Guillaume Nicloux’s next film ‘La Clé‘. It will be the final piece of a trilogy that include ‘A Private Affair‘ (Une affaire privée), which also starred Marion Cotillard, and ‘Hanging Offense‘ (Cette femme-là). Emma de Caunes, Guillaume Canet, Thierry Lhermitte, Josiane Balasko and Jean Rochefort are also part of the cast. The story follows a young man who starts a search for his father who disappeared. On his quest he encounters numerous characters.

Also in the news: Marion Cotillard isn’t part of the cast for ‘Taxi 4‘, which started shooting last month.

Jul 2006
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from New York Times (US) / by Kristin Hohenadel

IT doesn’t take much to make Montmartre look like a movie set, with its narrow winding streets and bohemian village charm. On a stroll up the hilly Rue Lépic in the shadow of the Moulin de la Galette, an old windmill featured in paintings by van Gogh, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, it’s easy to conjure up a Paris littered with the usual props: a baguette under every arm, a beret angled jauntily atop every head, lip-locked lovers on every corner.

The soundtrack to accompany this picturesque fantasy has to be the inimitable voice of Édith Piaf, who as a poor girl sang for her supper on the streets of Paris — where she was discovered — and went on to become one of France’s most famous cultural ambassadors with unabashedly romantic love songs like “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.”

In a television call-in survey in France in 2005 to name “The Greatest French Person of All Time,” Piaf, who died of cancer in 1963 at 47, was ranked No. 10 out of 100 historical figures and modern-day celebrities. (The top honor went to Charles de Gaulle.) So when TF1 International announced plans to make the film “La Môme” (“The Little Sparrow,” Piaf’s nickname), it seemed the company was cashing in on a myth, trying to resell the image of France’s most legendary chanteuse to the world and to France itself.

But it seems the filmmakers have set out instead to humanize a legend. Written and directed by Olivier Dahan and starring Marion Cotillard, the film is set to be released in France next Valentine’s Day. (Renamed “La Vie en Rose,” after one of Piaf’s most famous songs, it is scheduled to be released in the United States by Picturehouse in 2007.)

“All female voices are descendants of Piaf,” said Alain Goldman, one of the film’s producers. But while Piaf still exists in living memory, the most popular modern French chanteuses look and sound more like Britney Spears rip-offs. Not a season of “La Nouvelle Star,” the French version of “American Idol,” goes by without an aspiring little sparrow tackling “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” or “La Vie en Rose,” and inevitably crashing to earth with broken wings.

It’s hard not to see this exercise in nostalgia as evidence of France’s current, self-professed identity crisis as a nation torn between its defining past and the vagaries of its future, unsure of its place in the world. Mr. Goldman said it wasn’t only tourists who sometimes pine for a France that is all but lost.

“I think that France has nostalgia for that era as well,” he said. “France doesn’t know exactly where it’s going, and in moments of doubt you tend to look back at where you came from. And our history is incarnated by people, by destinies. Édith Piaf is an essential name in French culture.”

But Mr. Dahan, 38, wants to make the case for Piaf as an eternal artist with international appeal, not simply celebrate her as a national symbol. “She toured the world,” he said. “Of course she’s French, and her culture is French at the base, but she doesn’t belong to France.”

He pointed out that the movie — which was also filmed in Prague and Los Angeles — begins in New York, with Piaf singing in English. “An artist doesn’t belong to a country,” he said.

Mr. Dahan said he was not a fan when he stumbled on little-known photographs of Piaf as a girl. Intrigued, he read everything he could find about her and was surprised to discover that while her music and concert DVD’s are still being produced, nobody had ever made a movie about her life.

“I didn’t know much about her — a bit, like all French people, but not in detail,” said Mr. Dahan, who was born near Marseille. “I knew certain songs that everyone knows, because they play them on the radio. But the more I got into the details of her life, the more fascinating she became.”

He rejected the idea that this was only the story of a legend. “I wanted it to be accurate but not be paralyzed by the mythical quality, or dramatic reconstruction,” he said. “For me she was the prototype of an artist. I’m trying to show the intimate side of the person, not just the person singing on stage — how much she mixed her art and her life.”

The first half hour of the movie focuses on Piaf’s childhood from age 8 to 10, when, abandoned by her mother, she lived in a brothel run by her paternal grandmother, went temporarily blind and began to sing on the streets of Paris. “What the French know most is Piaf, when she was a bit older, when she sang at the Olympia,” Mr. Dahan said, referring to the famed music hall. “I think even the French are going to discover a lot about her.”

Because it is Piaf’s music, not her life, that is legend, the filmmakers sought to fill in the blanks of her tumultuous adulthood, in which she was accused of murder, endured the death of her only child, married twice and became involved with the French Resistance. Ms. Cotillard’s elfin beauty was transformed one afternoon during filming when she appeared with fake, bushy (pre-fame) Piaf eyebrows and her hairline shaved to make room for a wig styled in a curly bob with bangs. Ms. Cotillard, 30, said Piaf’s eventful life was a worthy subject for a movie, great singer or not. “You don’t need to love or not love, to know or not know Piaf, to go see the story of the extraordinary life of an extraordinary woman.”

Mr. Goldman said the film was difficult to finance, given its budget of $25 million — a high figure for a French film — and Mr. Dahan’s insistence on casting Ms. Cotillard, who is not as internationally recognizable an actress as Juliette Binoche or Audrey Tautou. (Ms. Cotillard will lip-sync Piaf’s songs.) The movie also stars Gérard Depardieu as Louis Leplée, the cabaret owner who discovered her.

The art department had lightly edited a patch of Rue Lépic to remove its 21st century detritus, lighted fires to give the effect of early morning fog, and stopped traffic for a handful of early 20th-century automobiles.

It was the kind of scene — actors out of earshot, walking up a hill in take after take — that glues together a movie, but is little fun for passers-by to watch. “Are there any stars in this?” an American woman carrying an “I {sheart}Paris” tote bag asked loudly while snapping digital photos like a crime reporter.

But despite the picture-postcard Montmartre setting, Mr. Goldman said the project has popular potential both at home and abroad. “Popular in the good sense of the term,” he said, “meaning a whole population can see themselves in the story of one of their heroines. Édith Piaf had a very large public: young, old, bourgeois, poor. Everyone was touched by her music. Also we had the potential to make an international film, not only a French one.”

Mr. Goldman, who grew up near where the street scene was being filmed, said that making an international film involved “holding the keys to world culture, and it’s mostly the United States that knows how to do that.” He continued: “I adored ‘Spider-Man.’ We don’t have that, so the only way for us to be international, to be universal, is to talk about Montmartre. Because the whole world knows Montmartre.”

Jun 2006
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from The Hollywood Reporter (US) / by Srdjan Milosavljevic

Picturehouse Films has picked up the right to a film on the wildly popular French singer Edith Piaf the film will be called La Vie en Rose. Piaf, was famous for heartbreaking voice. She sang unforgettable ballads, which stayed with those who listened to them for a long time after the performance. Her life, much like her songs was mysterious, and tragic. At a young age she was abandoned by her father, and brought to live with her grandmother who owned a brothel. It is said that she lost her sight at the age of three and regained it at a seven, when her grandmother’s prostitutes went on a pilgrimage to Saint Therese de Lisieux. She became famous in the 1940’s, had a pretty turbulent life. Drug problems, marriages, deaths were the things Piaf was in the news for when not making music. These problems followed her, right up until her tragic death on October 10, 1963 she died of cancer and was only 47 years old.

Marion Cotillard stars as the unforgettable Piaf. And it has been said that she is spellbinding as the singer, that she has her voice and mannerisms down to a tee. You may remember Cottilard from the “Taxi” movies which are arguably the three of the most famous French action films ever made. Louis Leplee, the night club owner who discovered Piaf will be played by one of my all time favorite French actors Gerard Depardieu. Although Depardieu is great in comedies, he really flourishes in dramas and films which are carried by performances. He is definitely a great choice for this film. Which will no doubt be more about the performances that anything else.

Olivier Dahan will direct this biopic. Before picking up directing, Dahan was a painter. And it seems he has taken that artistic vision with him into the world of film. That is why his shots, as small as insignificant they are to the story of the film, always look interesting and sometimes mesmerizing. He showed this to us in a film which while being painfully average looked and felt absolutely brilliant because of the scenery and the imagination of the director. You can not fake style, most of the time you can’t learn it. Unfortunately, style and artistic vision are things you have to be born with. Otherwise everyone would be a movie director. After hearing about the cast, the story and the director, there is very little chance that this movie won’t pack one hell of a punch. And the life Piaf led and the kind of person she was will be hard to copy, but rest assured if it is not done properly, this film will crash and burn. So a message to the woman who bears this film on her shoulders “Miss Cotillard. No pressure”