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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cousin Jules aka Le Cousin Jules [Blu-ray]


(Dominique Benicheti, 1972)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Société des Films Orzeaux

Video: Cinema Guild



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:31:20.475

Disc Size: 24,700,000,328 bytes

Feature Size: 21,432,403,968 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 3rd, 2014



Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio French 1708 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1708 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, None



• Origins of Restoration (2013, 11:30)
Theatrical Trailer (2:02)
Booklet featuring an essay by Haden Guest





Description: An ode to the simple pleasures of life, Cousin Jules is a beautiful, immersive portrait of a blacksmith living with his wife on a small farm in the French countryside. Shot in CinemaScope, the film meticulously captures their daily rituals – she fires up the oven, grinds the coffee beans, fetches water from the well; he stokes the forge, hammers the iron – and transforms it into a bucolic symphony of sound and image. Lost for nearly 40 years and now exquisitely restored, Cousin Jules is a timeless masterpiece, a record of a place and a way of a life that has long ago vanished.



The Film:

This unusual documentary chronicles five years in the grim, silent life of an elderly French couple (the husband was nearly eighty). In it, not one word is spoken. They live in a rural area, and the film follows their daily routine in extraordinary detail. Though the man's wife died during the filming, the filmmakers continued and show the old man doing his chores alone, awaiting his own death.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Formally ambitious on the grandest scale, Dominique Benicheti's 1973 documentary Cousin Jules earns an oft trotted-out maxim: This film is unlike any other you will see all year.

Well, one exception: Cousin Jules is an antecedent to Leviathan, the fishing doc rightly billed as a work of sensory ethnography. Like Leviathan, which doesn't tell a story but rather relates the sensuous immediacy of its subjects' lives through raw, visceral images presented without narrative context, Cousin Jules concerns the essence inherent in actions, the way quotidian existence can be suffused with poetic peacefulness — and overwhelming sadness.

Excerpt from the Village Voice located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Cousin Jules (restored) comes to Blu-ray from Cinema Guild. This documentary was not shot in a straightforward manner - with, predominantly, natural light. So the quality varies from location to location but the lack of production lighting brings another layer of vérité to the film experience - that you get the most out of by simply absorbing the mood and educational visuals. This is single-layered with a supportive bitrate. Contrast is adept and there are no prominent instances of depth. This Blu-ray image seems faithful through the 1080P transfer providing a pleasing visual presentation without issues of any kind.

















Audio :

The film's audio is transferred in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 track at 1708 kbps. There is little sound with only the workday procedures of a blacksmith, maintaining the land or preparing food. What audio is there - is exported faithfully but nothing impacts via the soundstage. There is no soundtrack - no music at all. It is clean with some realistic scattering. There are English subtitle but they only seem necessary for the title as there is no dialogue, per-se, in the entire film. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Extras include a new piece on the Origins of Restoration running a dozen minutes showcasing the meticulous reassembling of the older elements to breathe new life into this timeless documentary. There is also a trailer and the package contains a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by Haden Guest.



This manner of pure cinema is so rare... and so refreshing. Cousin Jules is a masterpiece of simplicity - as it expresses the slice if life it is revealing. There is no cluttering or confusion - just the documentation of a life that has no resemblance to your own. Absolutely perfect. The Cinema Guild Blu-ray is a wonderful way to embrace the beautifully unique expression evoking such a rich impression. I was blown away. Our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

June 16th, 2014


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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