Jacques Brel Is Alive, etc. once toured American and European theatres. The show is comprised of 35 songs written by the famous travelling troubedor Jacques Brell (who also stars in the film version). The film centers on various aspects of life (love, marriage, death, war, etc.). Written by
T.P. Addams <email@example.com>
An annoying film but interesting for the performers/performances
This film is of interest because it captures two of the original performers of the original version of the Off-Broadway revue, and because Jacques Brel appears in it. But wow, it couldn't be more 70s. The show is not improved by the faux-surrealism or the "hippie children" running around like escapees from "Pippin" or "Godspell". Elly Stone, who brought Jacques Brel's songs to the US, has an intensely irritating voice but is still compelling. Mort Shuman, another original cast member (I believe he also did some of the translations), is quite good. For some reason they dropped the second female role, and the second male role is played by Joe Masiell rather than the original Shawn Elliott, whom I would have been interested to see. Masiell has an excellent voice but his mannerisms are a little over the top.
The best part of the film is also the worst: Jacques Brel himself, singing one of his most famous songs, "Ne Me Quitte Pas". It starts out with a closeup of his eyes. The camera pulls back, and you see him simply sitting at a table, singing the song. He's stunning. You think to yourself, "What a great chance to see him at the height of his powers! How smart of them to let him just sit and sing!" And then the camera starts moving in, slowly but relentlessly, to just a closeup of his eyes ... and STAYS THERE for the rest of the song! What idiot directed THAT?? Truly a case of the sublime turning into the ridiculous.
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