What a Jule of a Film
March 7th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
You know I’m not going to resist a titular pun, but maybe you didn’t see that one coming? I’m back, after letting you loose with Woody Allen for a while. You certainly didn’t need me to tell you to go see films from his most verdant and broadest ranging decade. And in 35mm no less!
I really want to talk to you about COUSIN JULES. What an absolutely exquisite gem of a film. A day in the life of a French backsmith and his wife. While watching the film, I was reminded of the children’s story of City Mouse and Country Mouse. The film doesn’t hit you over the head with the thematic virtues of the quiet peasant’s life like that old fable. Instead, it gives you a quiet ode to rural living, filmed in the aftermath of the French New Wave and the anti-materialist late 60s films of Jean-Luc Goddard.
This film is so exquisitely shot, it furthers my belief that whatever they were doing with the photochemical process in the 70s still makes it the greatest decade for cinema. This pastoral poem has all the fly-on-the-wall, day-in-the-life authenticity of the best cinema verite. With hardly a word uttered the whole film, to make a clumsy analogue to today’s post-modern filmmaking, this is OG mumblecore. There is no conflict or plot, besides the most rudimentary theme of man vs. nature, or going about your daily business to survive.
From the title, I was expecting something along the lines of the 70s Quebecois gem MON ONCLE ANTOINE, which just so happens to have come out the same year (1971). I don’t think that Cousin Jules from the title is meant to be someone specific’s cousin diagetic to the film, but an everyman. He’s your Cousin Jules too, and somewhere in the French countryside he’s still pulling away at his billows and carving another slice of bread.
Thank you, Cinema Guild, for distributing this missing treasure at last.
—cousin jules, he’s no fool, dan