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What's The Song In The Birds Of Prey Trailer?

The first full-length trailer for Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is finally here — and while we don't know for sure what a "doozy" actually is, this flick looks like one. The trailer packs action, comedy, and a surprising amount of pathos into its scant two minutes, and it promises a complex and kickass turn from star Margot Robbie (as well as what appears to be a pleasingly over-the-top performance by Ewan McGregor as Black Mask).

The trailer also features a stirring, emotional musical selection, the lyrics of which you may not be able to make out. DC comics fans and music aficionados alike want to know: what the heck is that song in the Birds of Prey trailer?

Well, before we take a deep dive into what is an interesting and provocative choice to soundtrack this trailer, let us cut to the chase: the song is a cover of "Hymne a L'amour," a French tune first record by the legendary singer Édith Piaf in 1950. (The title translates to "Ode to Love.") The song has been covered and translated roughly a billion times in the last seven decades, and its history is almost as interesting as its lyrics.

Piaf is one of the biggest stars in the history of France, and "Hymne a L'amour" was written for the love of her life, the French boxer Marcel Cerdan. The pugilist is to this day considered to be the best boxer to ever come out of France; in his stellar career, he notched 106 wins — 61 of them by knockout — against only four losses.

One of those losses came against the bear-unstoppable American Jake LaMotta (the subject of Martin Scorsese's 1980 biopic Raging Bull), a fight during which an early injury severely limited Cerdan's use of one of his arms. The gutsy performance helped to make him a French national hero, and when the boxer managed to win the heart of Piaf — the country's most treasured singer — the pair instantly became the hottest celebrity couple in Europe.

In 1949, the pair bought a small hotel in Paris, and looked set to begin their life together. Piaf penned the lyrics to "Hymne a L'amour" in September of that year, and her devotion to her love permeates every word of the song. 

The lyrics' English translation reads, in part: "The blue sky over us can collapse on itself / And the ground can cave in / Little matters to me if you love me / I couldn't care less about the whole world." A later verse offered a bit of grim foreshadowing: "If one day life tears you away from me / If you die, then you will be far from me / What does it matter if you love me / Because I will die, too."

Unbelievably, the very next month, tragedy struck. Piaf was in New York City, waiting for Cerdan to arrive via intercontinental flight for a rematch with LaMotta — but he never arrived. As his plane was preparing to make a refueling stop before heading across the Atlantic, it crashed into a mountain, killing everybody aboard; Cerdan was only 33 years old.

The boxer's death rendered Piaf's lyrics eerily prophetic, and although the singer did not — as promised in the song — immediately follow her love into the Great Beyond, she did die young. Years of alcohol and prescription medication abuse took their toll on the singer, and in 1963, she passed away from liver cancer at the age of 47.

"Hymne a L'Amour" became Piaf's signature song, and it's no mere hyperbole to say that it has been covered way, way too many times for us to list here. In the context of the Birds of Prey trailer — the opening moments of which focus heavily on Harley Quinn's having broken up with the love of her life, "Mr. J" — it seems to suggest that Harley's "emancipation" from that relationship is going to be a tough one to forge, so inextricably linked are the two weirdest people in Gotham (and describing them as such is saying a lot). 

At any rate, this trailer — at times hilarious, at others strangely moving, and completely bonkers from front to back — has us seriously psyched for this film, which looks to continue the admirable rehabilitation of the franchise now formally known as Worlds of DC. The flick is directed by Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) from a screenplay by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee); in addition to Robbie and McGregor, it stars Mary Elizabeth WInstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz, Rpsie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain. 

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) hits the big screen on February 7, 2020.