Cousin Jules by film director Dominique Benicheti at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. February 26-March 7, 2014. The simplicity of daily peasant life!
A rare combination of sophisticated movie-making technique (shot in CinemaScope and recorded in stereo) and content that is a veritable ode to the beauty of rural France, the simplicity of daily peasant life, and the nearly wordless intimacy of a lifelong relationship. Recording over a 5-year period, director Dominique Benicheti palpably captures the rhythms and rituals of blacksmith Jules Guiteaux and his wife Félicie as Jules dons wooden clogs and leather apron to begin work in his shop, while Félicie tends a vegetable garden and prepares their meals. Awarded the jury prize at the Locarno Film Festival in 1973 and widely acclaimed around the world, the film nevertheless remained unreleased in the U.S. until now. Synopsis Courtesy of Film Forum.
91 minutes / DCP restoration from the original 35mm CinemaScope negative /2.35:1 Scope / Dolby / In French with English subtitles.
Wed, Feb 26, 7:30 pm (AA) $9, $11; Thu, Feb 27, 3 pm (RA) $7, $8; Fri, Feb 28, 7 pm (RA) $9, $11; Sat, Mar 1, 1 pm (RA) $9, $11; Sun, Mar 2, 1 pm (RA) $9, $11; Wed, Mar 5, 7:30 pm (RA) $9, $11; Fri, Mar 7, 4 pm (AA) $9, $11.
TICKET & VENUE INFORMATION:
Tickets may be purchased at www.mfa.org/film, by calling the MFA Ticketing Line at 800.440.6975, or in person at any MFA ticket desk. Where two prices are listed, the first is discounted for members, seniors, and students; the second is full price.
Screenings are in Remis Auditorium (RA) in the Linde Family Wing or Alfond Auditorium (AA) in the Art of the Americas Wing. Remis Auditorium is convenient to both the Huntington and State Street Corporation Fenway entrances. Alfond is accessed most easily from the Fenway entrance.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION:
A lost masterpiece of documentary cinema, Cousin Jules was the result of five years of painstaking work by director Dominique Benicheti and renowned cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn (Truffaut’s Day for Night, Tavernier’s Coup de torchon). They ambitiously photographed in Cinemascope and recorded in stereophonic sound the lives of Jules and his wife. The result is a ravishing, totally immersive work. The film received extraordinary reviews, won the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1973, and was exhibited at many prominent festivals. Despite a strong festival response, the film did not find a distributor. This was in part due to the fact that most arthouse theaters of the day did not possess the equipment necessary to screen the film in its native CinemaScope format, and Benicheti refused exhibition of the film under any other format. He believed that the drama of the film was best understood on a monumental scale. Over the years, the original negative and existing copies of
Cousin Jules began to disintegrate. Benicheti was in the early stages of restoring the film himself when he died in 2011; a group of the film’s most dedicated supports banded together to raise the funds for the remainder of the restoration work.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
Dominique Benicheti was born in 1943 in Paris, France. He graduated from the National School for Applied Arts, National Superior School of Fine Arts, and the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies (IDHEC) in the Animation program. He directed and produced more than 30 films over his lifetime; documentaries, scientific films, institutional films and animation. He was a technical and creative consultant for many 3D, large format and panoramic films. In 1975, Benicheti arrived at Harvard University, first teaching documentary filmmaking and then working for several years at the Jefferson Laboratories of Experimental Physics, and the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Later, Benicheti was active in the launch of Arane-Gulliver, one of the premier 70mm and special format film laboratories in Europe. He achieved many technical advancements in the field, including designing and building printing shuttles for 4-5-8-10 and 15 perforations in the 70 mm formats, as well as anti-bubble systems for 70mm wet gate printers. He died suddenly in 2011, leaving behind several screenplays for 3D and large format films. His aim in films was always to achieve through sound and image what words could not express.