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Must be a pretty fascinating life when the whole set of media forms on offer, including stage plays and musicals, take care of your life after it ended. So happended to Edith Piaf, the French Chansonnier who partly grew up in a brothel, had a life long history of sickness, became the symbol of her art form, and broke down under the fame and glory to go down in drugs. Not knowing how authentic it is, seeing the late Piaf I still was reminded of Clint Eastwood’s Charly Parker film, “Bird”, where the coroner guesses the dead Jazz musician’s age at 60, while he was actually around 35. Same with Piaf, she is fading away, and she dies a real wreck, destroyed by medication and drug abuse, way before her time.
While that life surely was exciting and dramatic (or melodramatic, if you wish), the film only scans it. All the stages of her life need to be covered, like on a checklist the scriptwriters had, and hence none is given the time it would probably deserve in order to unfold its emotions and drama. Only towards the end of the film, when the death of her boxer boyfriend shatters her life, the film develops some artistic element that lifts it above comparable musicians’ biopics. At the end of the day, I find those films not too necessary, they hardly ever contribute anything exciting to what you knew already (on the information level) or what you go to the movies for (on an emotion and aestheticism level). The music was nice, however, even though also on this, only a tiny little fragment was touched upon. And with a musician, I still believe the music is more relevant than anything an adoring biography can provide.

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