The story of France's celebrated ill-fated lovers - Piaf the tremulous songbird and Cerdan the world welterweight boxing champ - is obviously ripe movie material, but not for Lelouch the conventional biopic. With characteristic lateral thinking, he intercuts the couple's stormy relationship (the boxer's own son a last-minute replacement for the late Patrick Dewaere) with the fictional romance between a shy country girl (Bouix plays both the key female roles) and a podgy soldier, who follow Piaf and Cerdan's fortunes through the media like millions of their countryfolk. Lelouch's whirling camera leads them all a merry dance, Aznavour keeps popping up as songwriter delivering his newest ditties, while Piaf's original recordings supply much-needed emotional underpinning. It verges on the cherishably daft, but Piaf's heart-rending rendition of 'Hymne à l'Amour', recorded in 1950 the year after Cerdan's death, tells you all you need to know about the couple's passion in a couple of minutes.
Cast and crew
Marcel Cerdan Jr