Are The French Romantic?

Pretty Woman has a happy ending. The story sung by Edith Piaf finishes differently.

The story of a woman blackened by sin, smelling of cheap vices, but with something special in her eyes that can turn dirty skies blue.

The prince charming calls her beautiful; These are not words that are spoken to the women of the neighbourhood.  They move her to confess her past; He tells her to leave it behind.

They paint the town red but the scene brings out painful memories. They move to a better part of the city.

She’s reborn, he changes. “I thought you were prettier, but by the light of day, your vices show.”

She returns to her streets, her dreams of a saviour gone but when she sees lovers, a tear escapes her blue eyes.

Which moves you more? The Richard Gere / Julia Roberts story or the French version?


4 thoughts on “Are The French Romantic?”

  1. I haven’t seen either, but now you make me want to look at the Edith Piaf. I have some CDs from her by way of my step-dad back at our home in the States, haven’t listened to them much but will have a listen when we’re back. “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t stop listening to Bob Dylan.”

  2. Thank you for your summary of the plot of Elle frequentait… my French would never have been good enough to keep up with Edith Piaf. By coincidence I watched Pretty Woman again on TV last night and (sorry to say) thoroughly enjoyed it yet again, including the happy ending. Real life is so Piaf-like – sometimes one needs to escape for an hour or two, don’t you think?

    Both are romantic, but in a chalk and cheese kind of way. The Piaf is an entire novel disguised as a song and it’s moving in a way that Pretty Woman could never be. But then, Pretty Woman wasn’t designed to be moving – although it accidentally manages to be in places. It’s an entertainment, a bit of froth – a film disguised as a film disguised as a film.

    1. You’re welcome and I do agree the escapism is a need.

      I was struck by the realism of the Piaf versus the reputation of the French lover. I also read Maupassant’s Bel-Ami recently and it also has a mix of romanticism and harsh truths. It’s common here and explains, to me, why the French don’t get the irony of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice.

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