For its first repertory release, independent distributor The Cinema Guild has acquired theatrical rights to a new restoration of Dominique Benicheti’s “Cousin Jules,” four decades after it won the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. The new restoration debuted at the New York Film Festival last year, and the film will receive a theatrical release later this year. The deal was negotiated by Ryan Krivoshey of The Cinema Guild with Patricia Matthews and Peter Agoos on behalf of Dominique Benicheti’s sister, Genevieve Benicheti. Richard Pena and Dan Talbot, who have been among the film’s most passionate supporters over the years, advised Matthews and Agoos.
Benicheti, who passed away in 2011, was an incredibly technologically minded filmmaker who is best known as being on the forefront of artfully using 3D in French cinema, “Cousin Jules” is an achievement of an experimental documentary in which he filmed in Cinemascope and recorded in stereophonic sound the lives of a couple of French farmers in the countryside, providing an immersive window into their lives.
“Benicheti’s ‘Cousin Jules’ is a breathtaking work, a timeless classic that somehow, inexplicably, almost slipped forever from view. And what a loss that would’ve been. Completed 40 years ago, ‘Cousin Jules’ still feels bracingly contemporary. In it, one can see many of the great documentary films that would come to follow it. We are grateful to Patricia Matthews and Peter Agoos for bringing this wonderful film to our attention and are eager for audiences to experience it,” said Krivoshey.