You know that (*
Significance? Well, in the movie, we learn that the further the heroes dive into a person’s subconscious–into a dream within a dream within a dream, and so on–the more slowed-down time becomes. So if composer Hans Zimmer is playing us a super-slowed-down version of “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” then the implication is that we’re still submerged deep within the dream, far from the kick that will wake us up.
And in case you assumed that this was just some stoner conspiracy theory, like the Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd, or that Boondock Saints was good, Zimmer actually confirmed as much to the LA Times:
“You realize that the elements that we’ve extracted from the Piaf song are the way you get from one dream level to the next,” Zimmer said.
Plus 100 hipster points if you’ve already put it together that Marion Cotillard, who plays Cobb’s wife in the movie, won an Oscar for playing that same Edith Piaf in the biopic La Vie En Rose. I believe you can redeem those for a keffiyeh scarf at American Apparel. Anyway, according to Nolan, the Piaf connection was conscious, but not intentional:
The charged symphonic brass of Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” was targeted for use by Nolan yet almost dropped from the film when Marion Cotillard, who starred as Piaf in 2007 film “La Vie en rose,” was cast as Cobb’s wife, Mal. Zimmer, however, said he talked Nolan into keeping the song in the film, arguing that audiences would not be distracted by the connection.
Only Christopher Nolan could overestimate his audience’s intelligence so much that he’d worry that they could identify a Hans Zimmer musical cue as a super slowed-down version of a French song from 50 years ago, and THEN be distracted by the knowledge that said French song was sung by a woman who was portrayed by an actress who is also in Christopher Nolan’s film. I got tired just typing that.
Meanwhile, in another part of the country, Michael Bay shouted, “MORE ROBOT PISS! I want this audience laughing, and we can’t assume they weren’t buying nachos during the scene where the minstrel bots hump Megan Fox’s leg!”