The Perfect Concert & Piaf: The Documentary
it is sufficient to say of Edith
Piaf the words of Jean Cocteau:
Edith Piaf has genius. Shes
Whatever else is said of her, The Little
Sparrow was remarkable and this is
reflected in the content of Edith
The Perfect Concert & Piaf: The
a set on DVD...
REGARDED AS FRANCE'S GREATEST and most popular singer,
French superstar and cultural icon Edith Piaf makes the most of her wonderful
gift as the Edith Piaf: The Perfect Concert & Piaf: The Documentary
set makes its UK DVD premiere.
Combining a unique collection of filmed
and recorded performances by Edith Piaf, this spectacular two-disc set captures
many of her finest and best loved works. Coupled with an in-depth and unique documentary
featuring several rare and extraordinary interviews, this set is an incredible
and revealing portrait of one of the world's favourite performers.
her unique voice and natural gift of showmanship, Piaf's songs often reflect her
turbulent life especially the heart-rending ballads that she was so famous
for. The Perfect Concert features stunning versions of seventeen classic
songs, including the magnificent La Vie En Rose, the unforgettable Non
Je Ne Regrette Rien, Milord, the hauntingly lovely L'Hymne a l'amour
(Holiday In Paris, 1952) and the delightful Sale Petit Brouillard.
With an extraordinary ability to mesmerise her audiences, Edith Piaf is very
theatrical and compelling to watch; turning out powerful, energetic and especially
memorable performances. To experience Edith Piaf is to experience Perfection
she is truly majestic, dramatic, impish and emotional while remaining modest,
self-critical and natural.
Piaf: The Documentary is a film by Marianne
Lamour and both this and Edith Piaf: The Perfect Concert are produced by
Raymond Blumenthal with Karine Karsenti as Director of Production. Along with
interviews of Edith, others talk of the singer and her emotive songs. There are
references to her early life; her rise to prominence and her joys as well as her
disappointments and tragedies.
Edith Piaf's life reads like an epic novel.
Deserted by her mother at birth, Edith lived in a brothel with her paternal grandmother.
Her mother was Line Marsa, a beautiful singer who was to end her life full of
drink and drugs in the winter of 1945. Edith's father, Louis Gassion, was a soldier
and unable to care for her.
Edith was a sickly child with impaired vision
and only the working girls showed her a little bit of affection. Her grandmother
didn't much like her; but when Edith sang, even the neighbours opened the windows
to listen to her.
The little girl was taken to the sanctuary of Saint
Thèrese de Lisieux and by some miracle she regained her sight. All her life she
would believe in the supernatural.
Her father was a contortionist at a
fairground and he finally took her away from the brothel. He had many mistresses
and was not always kind to her and in 1930, at the age of 15, Edith ran away and
began living on the streets of Paris, finding solace with her "sister" Momone;
singing and hanging around the bars of the Pigalle, refusing to be drawn into
Edith had a child, Marcelle, who died when just a few months
old. She then fell in love with a legionnaire. But Louis Leplée, the owner of
a nearby cabaret bar heard her singing and took her under his wing, exploiting
her urchin looks. Her magnificent voice filled the house and the poor little girl
from the slums of Pigalle finds herself singing for the likes of Maurice Chevalier.
Louis gave her the name 'The Little Sparrow'; she calls him Papa Leplée. Sadly,
he is to be murdered by gangsters and Edith is grief stricken.
hands of songwriter Raymond Asso, Edith Piaf's voice becomes controlled and develops
further, but romance is never far away and Edith finds love for a while with singer
Paul Meurisse. She falls in love again; invites Yves Montand to take part in her
show in 1944 and the following year hires an accordion player from Mistinguiette,
Marc Bonel. She sings with Les Compagnons de la Chanson (Dim Dam Dom, 1969)
and has a romance with Jean-Louis Joubert. Her voice is called "The pulse of Paris".
Across the Atlantic, America is not so sure of The Little Sparrow, but
Mr and Mrs Henry Ford, Gregory Peck, Marlene Dietrich who teaches her to
speak English and President Eisenhower are among those who flock to see
her perform. And another romance, this time with boxer Marcel Cerdan, but tragedy
is not far behind.
Charles Aznavour writes Jézabel for Edith and she is
singing all over the world, earning a seven-minute ovation at a packed Carnegie
Hall in the USA. She writes more songs and receives the grand prize from the Academie
du Disque but, after George Moustaki composes Milord for her and they
go on tour together in 1958, George loses control of his car on Highway 10 on
a rainy night and crashes underneath a truck. Edith is badly hurt and it is the
start of her health problems.
She writes Mon Dieu, Les Mots
d'Amour and the famous Non je ne regrette rien Charles Dumont
and Michel Vaucaire compose the music for these unforgettable masterpieces.
of Piaf's genuine passion in performance stemmed from the roots of her childhood
and the challenges she faced in life. From her humble beginnings in Paris, Piaf's
life, loves and losses only served to make her rise to fame and glory even more
triumphant. Piaf: The Documentary charts this story with rare interviews,
footage of Piaf herself including home movies, an excerpt from Jean Cocteau's
Le Bel Indifferent in 1940, an extraordinary interview from the time of
her manager's tragic murder in 1936 and her marriages, latterly to Theo Sarapo.
Edith Piaf is intriguing with an enormous personality for such a tiny
frame. The talent, wit, charm, and contagious laugh lives on for the tragic child
who became a worldwide star. Edith Piaf died on 10 October 1963, at the age of
47. She believed in life after death and if this is so, she has no regrets and
is singing with the angels.
And there'll be no regrets for anyone who
owns this two-disc DVD or shares it with someone close. It's a unique treat for
all fans of the charismatic Edith Piaf an in-depth portrait of the tiny
woman who became a towering legend.
An impressive and beautiful collection of Edith Piaf performances and interviews,
Edith Piaf: The Perfect Concert & Piaf: The Documentary comes to DVD on
2 February 2009, courtesy of Acorn Media. Catalogue No: AV9697 | Running Time:
111 Minutes on two
discs | RRP: £19.99.
"There's never been any Edith
Piaf in the past. There'll never be one in the future" Jean Cocteau
"Tiny, vulnerable and worshipped by her fans" The Times
"Edith Piaf… the embodiment of some cherished values: a gritty romanticism,
a profligate willingness to give everything for love and art" The New
"Edith Piaf embodies love in its raw state" Claude-Jean
"…I think that like everything I give, I give it completely"
"With an extraordinary ability to mesmerise her
audiences, Edith Piaf is very theatrical and compelling to watch; turning out
powerful, energetic and especially memorable performances" Maggie Woods,