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Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1975)

5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 182 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 2 critic

Three attendees at a puppet theater don various roles in order to sing a variety of songs by Jacques Brel, all while hippies and other eccentrics cavort about them.

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Title: Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1975)

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1975) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elly Stone ...
Lady With Shopping Bag
Mort Shuman ...
Taxi Driver
Joe Masiell ...
Marine
Jacques Brel ...
Himself
Annick Berger
Moni Yakim
Bernard Lafontaine
France Lombard
Sophie Héroux
Nico Sirakos
Jean Schianno
René Quivrin
Paule Tanneur
Martial
Jean Nény ...
(as Jean Meny)
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Storyline

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 <quiddity@netzone.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

27 January 1975 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

O Jacques Brel, panta zontanos kai zei sto Parisi  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 850,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Brel's scenes were filmed quickly as Brel, a heavy smoker, knew he was dying. In October of 74 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. That following November he was rushed to the hospital for emergency lung surgery. See more »


Soundtracks

Bachelor's Dance (La bourrée du célibataire)
Written by Jacques Brel
Performed by Joe Masiell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
proceed with Caution: Jaques Brel is alive and Insane
15 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This adaptation of the stage play is so dated that it almost overshadows the amazing performances. Elly Stone does not have your typical voice but she does have all the power and passion that you could ever add to an interpretation of a Brel song. Watching her sing "Sons of..." is the highpoint of the film.

The worst thing about this film is it starts out so poorly it is hard to recover. The opening renditions are very poorly shot. and there are some non-singing, non-vocal moments of "surrealism" that are too awful to be believed. But as we settle into the idea of not having a plot and not apologizing for this fact, the songs become more straight-forward performances. The heartbreaking "Song for Old Lovers" is the highpoint towards the end. It is, however, unfortunate that such a crazy song as sung by Ms. Stone, namely "Carousel", is ruined by some very petty editing "techniques" that climaxes in an image we've already seen and that wasn't effective the first time.

Some other song highlights are "Next" and "Mathilde", but it is Ms. Stone that really makes you feel the urgency of these songs. If we could just watch her and the other cast just perform these the way they did on stage, it would have been a better film. But the director decides to rely on some cinematic tricks that just look worse after time.

As for Brel's appearance, it is slightly anti-climactic, but utterly moving. His is the saddest and most recognizable of all the songs gathered here, and in its original French the most authentic. We should consider ourselves lucky for the documentation of that moment.

I would advise anyone who is willing to watch this to skip the first 8 chapters or so, and start with "Alone" sung by the Priest at the funeral. Then the film is shorter and you miss the embarrassing opening numbers...


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