A sophisticated film chum who’s currently trolling the Berlin Film Festival (and who weirdly asked for anonymity) insists that “Olivier Dahan‘s La Mome (a.k.a., La Vie en Rose) — a hurricane dramatic ride into the tumultuous life of Edith Piaf — is the first great film of 2007.”

strong>Bob Berney’s Picturehouse acquired U.S . distrib rights in Cannes last year, and is now pushing what Berlin guy feels will be the #1 contender for the Best Foreign Language Feature race of this year.”

Marion Cotillard “delivers one of the best female performance of the past decade,” he insists. “She’s the Penelope Cruz (in Volver) of this calendar year except she could have a serious shot at winning it all.’

No Variety review yet, but the Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt is calling it “a messy triumph…showy and scattered, sometimes corny and other times outrageous, focused intensely on emotions, in love with its heroine and to hell with anything else.

“Dahan, who co-wrote the script with Isabelle Sobelman, pulls apart Piaf’s improbable, melodramatic life and puts it back together in a mosaic that suits his idea of the singer. Dahan sees Piaf’s life as a fantasia where nothing separates life from art, where miracles dwell alongside tragedy and grief and a saint can drop by for a visit.

“The film is messy the way Piaf’s life was messy: It’s unafraid of extravagant gestures even when they fail to come off.

La Vie en Rose aims at a broad international audience with a mix of Piaf standards, doomed romance and a larger-than-life, self-destructive heroine.

“Thanks to an extraordinarily brave performance by Marion Cotillard, whose every gesture and singing performance channels not only Piaf but perhaps a bit of Judy Garland, the film should have wide adult appeal,” Honeycutt declares. “Critics will be divided about the filmmaking, especially its more self-conscious aspects, but Cotillard’s performance and the film’s fervent, romantic belief that misery can be turned into art will connect with many age groups, especially among women.”

Marion Cotillard on the carpet