An American legend is explored in “Requiem for Billy the Kid,” a docu-Western helmed by French documaker Anne Feinsilber and produced by Gallic filmmaker Jean-Jacques Beineix.
The $700,000 pic, which is shot in Cinemascope and features interviews with Kris Kristofferson, is in post production.
“It is the evocation of one of American history’s founding myths, seen through the eyes of a French woman,” said Beineix, helmer of “Diva” and “Betty Blue.”
Feinsilber, who has produced and directed docus for the likes of Channel 4, Bravo and Court TV, was living in New York when she was drawn to the story by a front page article in the New York Times.
Piece reported on plans to exhume the corpse of Billy the Kid and do DNA testing to discover whether the man shot dead by sheriff Pat Garrett was the famed outlaw. Tom Sullivan, who wears Garrett’s sheriff badge today, is leading the investigation, hotly opposed by an army of locals who fear it will destroy a legend — and the area’s thriving Billy the Kid tourist trade.
Feinsilber travelled to Lincoln County, New Mexico, fell in love with the story’s Wild West protagonists and setting and decided to shape her film into a hybrid mix of docu and Western.
“Time has stood still in that part of the world,” said Feinsilber. “The sheriff wears a Stetson, a star and cowboy boots, and the place is full of charismatic characters who talked about Pat and Billy.”
The docu also features excerpts from Sam Peckinpah’s “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” with interviews with scribe Rudy Wurlitzer and Kristofferson, who played the Kid.
Original music was composed by French talent Claire Touzi.
Docu elements of the story are intercut with voiceover graveside conversations between Billy the Kid and the pic’s director.