After winning a prize at the Locarno Film Festival in 1973, Dominique Benicheti’s magnificent documentary about the quotidian rhythms of an elderly couple in rural Burgundy unjustly remained without US distribution for 40 years. Filmed over a five-year period—and shot in CinemaScope and recorded in stereo—this immersive portrait follows Jules Guiteaux (a distant relative of the director’s) and his wife, Félicie, as they go about their formidable tasks. Jules, a blacksmith, is shown hammering out hinges and other implements as his wife tends to their vegetable garden and prepares meals and midmorning coffee. Benicheti, working with cinematographers Pierre William Glenn and Paul Launay, patiently observes these labor-intensive chores, daily rituals that are attended to with utmost precision and grace—and that are never less than transfixing to watch. Although Jules and Félicie, both born in 1891, rarely speak in the film, their silence conveys the deep intimacy of spouses who have spent six decades together. Without Félicie, who died while the project was still being assembled, the second half of Cousin Jules becomes a testament to the title character’s quiet, noble resilience.
Absolutely beautiful. A stunning film.
Ravishing. An exceptional and unique cinematic experience.
Jury Prize – Locarno Film Festival (1973)
RUNNING TIME 91 min
PRODUCTION France, 1973 & 2013
FORMAT(S) DCP, Blu-ray, and DVD
$350 to $450 pending format
*Fees for screening rights are negotiable and may depend on: format, size of screening room, whether admission will be charged, etc. Check with each distributor and make sure to mention your participation in Tournées in your negotiation.