Category Archives: Cinema

Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules

Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules

Documentary


Fans of various movie genre know that each has its own feel. Perhaps it’s the sound, the camera angles, the dialogue, the pace, or some other cinematic element.


An independent film that John Cassavetes produced was notable not only for its originality and quality of acting, but for the feeling like the viewer often felt, like they were there looking over the characters’ shoulders, not sitting in a theater seat.

Dominique Benicheti

"Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules


Benicheti  began to film Le Cousin Jules or Cousin Jule’s in 1968. The two main characters were a married couple: Jules Guitteaux (Benicheti’s actual cousin) and Jule’s wife  Felicie who live on a farmstead in the hills of Burgundy. Both born in 1891. Married more than 50 years.


The 1 hour 31 minute film opens with a scene of Jule’s forge. Chickens peck about its floor.  The door to a house opens. Jule’s himself walks out and slips his feet into his wooden clogs. We watch those clogs walk to the forge. There is no dialogue. Jules starts the forge’s fire. He begins to repeatedly pull on the bellows’ handle. Jules heats a piece of metal.


Felicie sits in the front yard peeling potatoes. We notice that one of the fingers on her gnarled hands is missing. There is no dialogue.

Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules

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Benicheti used cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn. In a typical mid-twentieth century documentary with it new lightweight portable cameras, we expect some jangled hand-held work. Not here. It is often as if Glenn set up his CinemaScope  cameras, stereo recorders, and simply let them run. 


We follow the Guitteaux through their day, though in actuality it took Benicheti five years to complete. As in any story, there are times our eyes sparkle with love. Times they fill up. We know we are watching a long gone lifestyle, yet we also recognize and extremely worthy lifestyle.

Recognition


Bencheti released the film in 1973. It won the Special Jury Prize prize at Lucarno, Other festivals, including Moscow, New Directors/New Films and the Los Angeles International Film Expo selected it for screening.  


Charles Champlin wrote in The Los Angeles Times, that it was “one of those extraordinary discoveries which film festivals ought to always be about.” 

Oblivion


Unfortunately critical recognition does not mean financial success. Such success depends on distribution and distribution depends on corporate deciding what niche the film fits into and how to best sell it from that niche.


Cousin Jules did not fit into any particular genre. Yes a documentary, but it didn’t feel like a documentary.  Decision-makers apparently felt that the patience needed to watch the story unfold was more than a typical moviegoer had.


And unlike most movies, there was virtually no dialogue.


Perhaps Variety magazine’s review summed up best the lack of support for the film: somewhat plodding and unclear in design … the kind of film that keeps a distance (from its subjects), prettifies the grim look of their rural lives and does not let them say anything.”

Resurrection


Copies of the film began to disintegrate.  Benicheti began to restore it, but he died very suddenly in 2011.  One of Benicheti’s former students asked Richard Peña (program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center at the time) to consider the film for the 2012 New York Film Festival. Peña  enthusiastically agreed.  


Dedicated supporters  raised the funds for the remainder of the restoration work. 


From the film’s site: Le Cousin Jules awed its audience at the 2012 New York Film Festival.  In 2013 it screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Viennale, and the festival Toute la mémoire du monde at la Cinémathèque française in Paris.  Its first theatrical release was at Film Forum in New York in December 2013.

Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules

Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules, Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules, Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules, 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause

released October 26, 1955

Rebel Without a Cause

Damn Kids today

Adults have questioned the behavior of teenagers as long as both groups have faced each other--forever.

"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

Rebel Without a Cause

Warner Brothers released Rebel Without a Cause on October 26, 1955. It is considered by many to be the teenage movie of all time. In its review, the NY Times stated: It is a violent, brutal, and disturbing picture of modern teen-agers.... Young people neglected by their parents or given no understanding and moral support by fathers and mothers who are themselves unable to achieve balance and security in their home...It is a picture to make the hair stand on end. (NYT review)

The title was adopted from psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner's 1944 book, Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath.

Rebel Without a Cause

In any case…

Whether or not Rebel Without a Cause is the best movie ever of its genre is unimportant. Each generation has its movie milepost to point to. What is important is that in it we can see the universal conflicts between adults and their values and teenagers and their values; between teenagers own conflicting values; between society's desire to mold its young members into a satisfactory reflection of its values and those same young members desire to see things differently, do things another way, and do things better

Rebel Without a Cause

Boy meets girl. Girl laughs at boy. Boy chases girl. Girl turns and smiles. Love. Confusion. Arguments. Fights. Anomie.

Certainly a film to watch again or to watch for the first time.

Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274

"The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress." 

Legacy

In 1990, Rebel Without a Cause was added to Library of Congress's National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant." It was the only film that James Dean had top billing, but he died in a car crash before the film's release.

 

 

 

 

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Human

 

I love movies: comedies, romantic, mysteries, drama. And documentaries. Always documentaries because they can bring us closest to us.

 

HUMAN Extended version VOL.1

What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight ? That we laugh ? Cry ? Our curiosity ? The quest for discovery ?
Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries. Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, Yann captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all; struggles with poverty, war, homophobia, and the future of our planet mixed with moments of love and happiness.

The VOL.1 deals with the themes of love, women, work and poverty.

 

 

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