Sunday, July 29, 2007

Les Vies Des Autres

Two movies this week, two amazing women, two lives.

Vie Privee
There are two Brigitte Bardot movies I have always wanted to see. La Verite, and Vie Privee. I stumbled upon seeing La Verite at the National Film Institute in London four years ago, a magical experience, and to this day still try and track it down to own. Alas, not availale. In my monthly eBay/Amazon searches however I did find Vie Privee, newly released on DVD, and couldn't click Proceed To Checkout fast enough. Knowing that it was quasi-autobiographical, starring Marcello Mastroianni and directed by Louis Malle had me hanker for this movie like no other.
Autobiographical, that it is. It records a happy Jill/Brigitte start out in dance, moving to modelling and acting, before the frenzied crescendo of public and paparrazi attention knocks her into a nervous breakdown. She seeks solace in Marcello's arms, and they retreat to a small town outside of Rome where he is conducting an arts festival and she can rediscover an unhounded life. But it's not long until she's found out and la foule smother her, and their, world.
It's a lovely little film, where Brigitte doesn't need to act, and Marcello, for so long, and always l'homme de ma vie, is beautiful, handsome, incredible. It's 1962 and the wardrobes are divine - slim capris with contrasting cotton tees; a spot of Chanel tweed; lounging so effortlessly in men's shirts. And lots of smoking. I miss smoking.

La Vie En Rose
An excellent biopic, and between the songs and her tragic life didn't - couldn't - leave a dry eye in the house. While there was nothing about Montand it was consistent on her little life and there was no shmaltz, the highs and lows played against the backdrop of her incredible music. My favourite Piaf song, one of my favourite songs of all time, Mon Legionnaire, tugged at my heartstrings as Raymond Asso used it to transform her from street performer to superstar. I thought Marion Cotillard was very good, her eyes as expressive as Piaf's.

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