Category Archives: Cinema

Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules

Dominique Benicheti Cousin Jules


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


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.


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.” 


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.”


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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American Rebel Without Cause

American Rebel Without Cause

American Rebel Without Cause

released October 26, 1955

American Rebel Without Cause

American Rebel Without 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).

American Rebel Without Cause

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.

American Rebel Without Cause

American Rebel Without 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

American Rebel Without 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.

American Rebel Without Cause

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.”

American Rebel Without Cause


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.

American Rebel Without Cause

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Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

I love movies: comedies, romantic, mysteries, drama.

And documentaries.

Always documentaries because the best bring us closest to us.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

An Awakening

I recently experienced the horror of a loved one’s cancer. We were fortunate to live at a time when there are treatments that are difficult to endure, but ultimately successful.

Walking from one appointment for one test to another appointment for another test we passed hundreds of people going about their day. It occurred to me that I had no idea how many of them were suffering also. What had happened?  What was happening.

It is easy to avoid that reality.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

Yann Arthus-Bertrand was born in Paris on March 13, 1946. He is an environmentalist, activist, journalist, and photographer.

He is also a filmmaker.

His 2003 film work is called 6 Billion Others. It has since been renamed 7 Billion Others to reflect the changed world population.

The most trivial events can change our life’s direction. Arthus-Bertrand was in Mali and waiting out a mechanically delayed helicopter. He had a conversation with a  villager who spoke of his life. That his only goal was to feed his children.

Later Arthus-Bertand thought of our Earth. That from far above we all share a small spot, but on our planet rules and bureaucracies block compassionate actions.  6 Billion Others was born.

The film is more of an ongoing project than a completed work. His site explains: “…with Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire,  [Arthus-Bertrand] launched the ” 7 billion Others project “. 6,000 interviews were filmed in 84 countries by about twenty directors who went in search of the Others. From a Brazilian fisherman to a Chinese shopkeeper, from a German performer to an Afghan farmer, all answered the same questions about their fears, dreams, ordeals, hopes: What have you learnt from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you?

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human


Human is  Arthus-Bertrand’s 2015 work. He sticks to the theme of emphasizing our commonness.

The film’s structure is an extension of his Others project.

WiredFrom : “Arthus-Bertrand and his team of 16 journalists interviewed 2,020 people in 60 countries. Each interview consisted of the same 40 questions, covering heavy subjects from religion and family (“When is the last time you said ‘I love you’ to your parents?”) to ambition and failure (“What is the toughest trial you have had to face, and what did you learn from it?“).

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human


Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human


I will define poverty now. What poverty means to me.

It’s when I have to go to school, but I can’t go.

When I have to eat, but I can’t.

When I have to sleep, but I can’t.

When my wife and children suffer.

I don’t have a sufficient intellectual level to get us out of this situation,

Me or my family.

I really feel poor.

Physically poor, mentally poor.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

Unusual launch

HUMAN became the first movie to premiere in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, to an audience of 1,000 viewers, including U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The Google Arts & Culture blurb explainsHUMAN’ is a collection of stories about and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human. Through these stories full of love and happiness, as well as hatred and violence, ‘HUMAN’ brings us face to face with the Other, making us reflect on our lives. From stories of everyday experiences to accounts of the most unbelievable lives, these poignant encounters share a rare sincerity and underline who we are – our darker side, but also what is most noble in us, and what is universal.

“Our Earth is shown at its most sublime through never-before-seen aerial images accompanied by soaring music, resulting in an ode to the beauty of the world, providing a moment to draw breath and for introspection. ‘HUMAN’ is a politically engaged work which allows us to embrace the human condition and to reflect on the meaning of our existence.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

My 2 Cents

I understand the need to be succinct and sometimes I succeed being that, but I would have called the film, Simply Human. Despite the dichotomies  that our cultural appearances suggest exist between our societies, the longer one watches Human, the more one realizes we are all seeking the same things.

Speaking of being succinct, you cannot be on a tight schedule to watch this film. It is divided into three volumes and each more than an hour long.

But what a opportunity you have. Despite the misery, the horrors, and the hardships, we viewers have the chance to realize that we all are, after all, Human.

It will be depressing as long as we do nothing.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

Human Vol 1

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

Human Vol 2

Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

Human Vol 3


Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human

His other film works

  • 2004: Earth from Above
  • 2009: Home, available on-line.
  • 2010: Paris, view from above
  • 2012: Planet Ocean
  • 2013: Metz and the Messin pays, view from above
  • 2014: Switzerland from above for Switzerland Tourism, available on-line.
  • 2015 : Terra
  • 2015 : Algeria from above
Yann Arthus-Bertrand Human
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