Apprendre la langue Française (l’édition spéciale) – La Vie en Rose


Who is Edith Piaf?
(from La Vie en Rose the movie’s official web site)


Perhaps finding her nearest American analogues in figures such as Judy Garland and Billie Holiday, the tragic story of the world-famous chanteuse is worthy of a 19th century novel by Zola or Balzac. From the mean streets of the Belleville district of Paris to the dazzling limelight of New York’s most famous concert halls. Piaf’s life was a constant battle to sing and survive, to live and love. Born into abject poverty, surrounded by street performers, hookers, and pimps, Piaf’s magical voice made her a star on both sides of the Atlantic.

Raised in her grandmother’s brothel, Piaf was discovered in 1935 by nightclub owner Louis Leplee, who persuaded her to sing despite her extreme nervousness. This, combined with her diminutive height (4’8”), inspired Leplee to give the singer the nickname that would stay with her the rest of her life, La Mome Piaf (“The Little Sparrow”).

Piaf’s passionate romances and friendships with some of the greatest names of the era—Charlie Chaplin, Jean Cocteau, Yves Montand, and Marlene Deitrich, who famously remarked that Piaf’s voice is “the soul of Paris”—made her a household name as such as her unforgettable renditions of the songs she made famous, including “Hymne a l’amour” (1949), “Milord” (1959), and “Non, je ne regretted rien” (1960).

But in her audacious attempt to tame her tragic destiny, the Little Sparrow flew so high that she could not fail to burn her wings. The great love of Piaf’s life, Middleweight boxing champion Marcel Cerdan died in a plane crash in 1949. Piaf developed a serious morphine addiction following a car accident in 1951, and eventually succumbed to cancer in 1963, dying at the untimely age of forty-seven. Piaf remains, however, one of France’s immortal icons, her voice one of the indelible signatures of the 20th century.

Her song, La Vie en Rose (Life in Pink) is my favorite. I was around 8 when I first heard this song over the radio on a usual Sunday morning, when my folks would prefer to listen to songs that came way ahead of me. Interestingly, I always appreciate listening to the classics.

Des yeux qui font baisser les miens,
Eyes that gaze into mine,
Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche—
A smile that is lost on his lips—
Voilà le portrait sans retouche
That is the unretouched portrait
De l’homme auquel j’appartiens.
Of the man to whom I belong.

Quand il me prend dans ses bras,
When he takes me in his arms
Il me parle tout bas,
And speaks softly to me,
Je vois la vie en rose.
I see life in rosy hues.
Il me dit des mots d’amour,
He tells me words of love,
Des mots de tous les jours,
Words of every day,
Et ça me fait quelque chose.
And in then I become something.
Il est entré dans mon cœur,
He has entered my heart,
Une part de bonheur
A part of happiness
Dont je connais la cause.
Whereof I understand the reason.
C’est lui pour moi,
It’s he for me
Moi pour lui dans la vie,
[and] I for him, throughout life,
Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie.
He has told me, he has sworn to me, for life.
Et dès que je l’aperçois,
And from the things that I sense,
Alors je sens en moi
Now I can feel within me
Mon cœur qui bat.
My heart that beats.

Des nuits d’amour à plus finir,
In endless nights of love,
Un grand bonheur qui prend sa place,
A great delight that comes about,
Les ennuis, les chagrins s’effacent,
The pains and bothers are banished,
Heureux, heureux à en mourir.
Happy, happy to die of love.

Quand il me prend dans ses bras,
When he takes me in his arms
Il me parle tout bas,
And speaks softly to me,
Je vois la vie en rose.
I see life in rosy hues.
Il me dit des mots d’amour,
He tells me words of love,
Des mots de tous les jours,
Words of every day,
Et ça me fait quelque chose.
And in them I become something.
Il est entré dans mon cœur,
He has entered my heart,
Une part de bonheur
A part of happiness
Dont je connais la cause.
Whereof I understand the reason.
C’est lui pour moi,
It’s he for me
Moi pour lui dans la vie,
[and] I for him, throughout life,
Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie.
He has told me, he has sworn to me, for life.
Et dès que je l’aperçois,
And from the things that I sense,
Alors je sens en moi
Now I can feel within me
Mon cœur qui bat.
My heart that beats.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: