Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is an example of the daring kind of 70's filmmaking which is almost unimaginable today, using a kaleidoscope of imagery and a heady mix of cinematic styles to epitomize the music of Belgian born writher and singer of classic French cabaret torch songs, Jacques Brel. The film is based on the eponymous hit 1968 Greenwich Village revue which introduced Brel to a larger audience and cemented his reputation as a respected songwriter - someone who influenced the works of singer-songwriters who would follow such as Leonard Cohen and David Bowie. Hugely significant at the time due to it's lack of a traditional book, the show flew in the face of Broadway conventions, paving the way for every revisionist musical which has followed. The film reunites the original off-Broadway cast of Mort Shuman, Elly Stone and Alice Whitfield. But the real star of the film is Brel's music - brooding but beautiful, weary but ultimately uplifting, perfectly encapsulated when the great man himself appears to deliver a delicate and measured version of his classic standard "Ne Me Quitte Pas," a unique and essential musical moment.
Elly Stone, Mort Shuman, Joe Masiell, Jacques Brel, Annick Berger, Moni Yakim, Bernard Lafontaine, France Lombard, Sophie Héroux, Nico Sirakos, Jean Schianno, René Quivrin, Paule Tanneur