Price: $195.00

    Code: 2465

    Directed by Dominique Benicheti
    1973 / 2012, 91 minutes
    Purchase: $195 | Classroom rental: $85

    A lost masterpiece of cinema, now beautifully restored and available for the first time in years, Cousin Jules was the result of five years (1968-1973) painstaking work by director Dominique Benicheti and cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn. Over that period, the team photographed and recorded the daily lives of Jules (Benicheti's distant cousin) and his wife, Felicie, French farmers living alone in the countryside.

    The result is a ravishing and immersive work, in which we not only enter into the subjects' world but also into the very rhythms of their lives - a record of a time and a way of life that has long ago vanished

    Upon its release at the 1973 Locarno Film Festival, Cousin Jules was heralded as a landmark in documentary filmmaking and consequently award a Special Jury Prize. It went on to screen at the New Directors / New Films festival in New York and the Los Angeles Film Festival. However, because the film was shot in CinemaScope with stereo sound - one of the very first documentaries to do so - it was unreleasable at the time. Most arthouse theaters were not yet equipped to play films in this format; and Benicheti refused for his film to be seen in any other way. Thus, it was never publicly shown again.

    Benicheti began the restoration work on the film several years ago at Arane-Gulliver in Paris, the lab which he founded and worked at until the end of his life. Benicheti passed away in 2011. But work on his film continued, thanks to the director's closest friends and supporters. The new, restored version premiered at the 2012 New York Film Festival.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Official Selection, Berlin Film Festival, 2013
    * Official Selection, New York Film Festival, 2012
    * Winner, Special Jury Prize, Locarno Film Festival, 1973


    "A quiet jewel. An indelibly immersive experience. Luminous and exquisitely framed, Benicheti’s patient shots of rural vistas often recall 19th-century French painting. One thinks of Vincent van Gogh's radiant fields, Jean-François Millet's laboring peasants and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's precise but poetic landscapes. And yet Cousin Jules will also speak to many who have spent time in rural America. Combining objectivity with beauty, unsentimentality with warmth, it's ultimately a tribute to life itself." – The Wall Street Journal

    “A joy to behold! A Bressonian study of hard work and the value of unadorned observation, raising labor to the level of ritual and almost mystical ceremony. Almost any one of the images could be the subject of an impressionist masterpiece.” – James Verniere, Boston Herald

    "A documentary classic that slipped through the cracks. Transfixing.” – J. Hoberman, Artinfo

    “Breathtakingly beautiful. Immersive and magical. An often fascinating ethnographic study of peasant survival and a pastoral life long gone.” – Film Journal

    “A tender and accomplished documentary. Benicheti makes images that are as poised and attentive as are his subjects. Each new activity that he reveals offers surprises that are fraught with the passing of time and the burden of labor.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

    “Four stars! A genuinely extraordinary work of art.” – David Fear, Time Out NY

    “Thoroughly transporting. This film is unlike any other you will see all year.” – Village Voice

    “An almost spiritual experience.” – Hollywood Reporter

    "Highly Recommended."- Educational Media Reviews Online


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