Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris|
Actors: Elly Stone, Mort Shuman, Joe Masiell, Jacques Brel, Annick Berger
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Studio: Kino International Release Date: 11/11/2003 Run time: 97 minutes
American Film Theatre version is PG ?
Bruce P. Barten | Saint Paul, MN United States | 01/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would think this would be PG in France or for an audience of drunks in a nightclub. This DVD contains smoking and drinking, a few boobs, plenty of theatrical stunts, some outdoor scenery, and enough music to be considered a musical. The film was made in 1974, when the title, "Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris" was being overly euphemistic about his health. Brel (1929-1978) was born in Belgium, which was occupied by Nazis for four or five years when he was growing up. The saddest song on this DVD, "Marieke" retains a bit of Flemish and shows a cemetery while Elly Stone sings of someone buried in Flanders. Brel was popular as a singer-songwriter until he was diagnosed with cancer and began to cut back his public appearances in 1967, and this film was made the year he stopped performing, though he is shown in some scenes. If you need to know what he looks like, see him smoking in the Theatrical Trailer on the DVD, which also identifies the film stars Elly Stone, Mort Shuman, and Joe Masiell.
For people who have seen the film, Mort Shuman (1937-1991) might be remembered as the singer of "The Taxi Cab Driver" which is selection 8 on the DVD. Mort Shuman and Eric Blau (whose wife is singer Elly Stone) were co-producers of the theatre cabaret version of "Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris" which opened on January 22, 1968 at the Village Gate on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village, where it ran for over 1800 performances. The attempt to reach the enormous audiences on Broadway only had 51 performances, but the English adaptations of Brel songs by Mort Shuman and Eric Blau have become better known than some of the originals. People who remember all of the music from 1968 ought to remember an album called "Wildflowers" on which Judy Collins sang "La Chanson des vieux amants" with the original words by Jacques Brel, music and words by Jacques Brel and Gerard Jouannest. The "Song of the Old Lovers" is selection 23 on this DVD and allows fans to hear the words in English. Brel worked with a number of composers for the music to his songs, and this DVD provides a variety of musical styles.
Harry Chapin had a song about driving a taxi cab, too, but the tone of the "I drive the Taxi Cab" song on this DVD is a bit closer to the feelings of the strange hero of the movie "Taxi Driver" in which an ex-Marine is up all night anyway and sees what is going on at all hours, most of which he would like to flush down the toilet. Selection 22, "The Middle Class" has a chorus based on the idea: the middle class are pigs. Already in selection 2, "Marathon" the force of history is emphasized with videos of a string of events that has an impact like Billy Joel singing "We Didn't Start the Fire" to a younger generation of MTV viewers. For Americans who missed the plethora of anti-war feelings generated by the active involvement of millions in some stupid history lesson, the fate of Europe as complained about by "The Statue" in selection 4 captures the bitterness of being dead at the end of the years 1880-1918 as hatred of childhood innocence, but whoever wanted a statue in the damn park anyway?
The song "Carousel" near the end has flashback clips from the other songs, with everything spinning around like a top as the main theme, which makes the last song a relief. "If We Only Have Love." Total time 97 minutes, and if you haven't figured out what it was about by then, you can watch the Theatrical Trailer a few times to see whose success and fame this film was attempting to capture."
K. gillam | hollywood, ca | 08/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"as a huge jacques brel fan, owning all the dvd footage of him, and being an american who cannot understand french, i love this film!!! the translations are beautiful and being a musical fan, the voices and the shooting is great. i see that a lot of people gave a lot of bad reviews, well being a writer and a muscian i LOVE IT!!!"
Long searched for DVD found and treasured!
ScorpDragon | San Francisco Bay Area | 02/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seriously been searching for this DVD for years (many, many). I remembered seeing the orig. showing on t.v., I believe. I think PBS or something. It's been haunting me for years and when I finally actually came up with it on Amazon... well... it was a moment to behold. It really is a treasure for me and anyone influenced by the passionate music of Jacques Brel MUST have this for their collection."
"A Film Worth Sharing"
Douglas P. Nuccitelli | Las Vegas, Nevada | 08/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Brel Fan for many years. This film gives one the meaning of what all our dreams are about in his songs. I have always been a fan of the great Elly Stone. As a Singer myself, I worked with Elly Stone in New York at Carnegie Hall where I sang backup for her and studied with her also. She has such passion in her music. Brel is Passion. The late Joe Masiell has a great screen presence and his rendition of "Next" will always be remembered as the most moving song ever put on film.The late Mort Shuman is perfectly suited for this film as his comic flair shines in his singing. I recommend this Film for any Singer or Acting Student because you can feel the passion of the songs from the singer/actors. Jacques Brel will live on forever."