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Les Enfants Terribles (1950)

Les enfants terribles (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 28 July 1952 (USA)
In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground. Paul has a deep affection for Dargelos, and later denies that there... See full summary »

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Nicole Stéphane ...
Elisabeth
Edouard Dermithe ...
Paul
Renée Cosima ...
Dargelos / Agathe
Jacques Bernard ...
Gerard
Melvyn Martin ...
Michael
Maria Cyliakus ...
The Mother
Jean-Marie Robain ...
Headmaster
Maurice Revel ...
Doctor
Rachel Devirys
Adeline Aucoc ...
Mariette
Emile Mathys ...
Vice Principal
Roger Gaillard ...
Gerard's Uncle
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Annabel Buffet
Karin Lannby ...
The Mother
Edit

Storyline

In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground. Paul has a deep affection for Dargelos, and later denies that there was a stone in the snowball that hit him. Back home Paul's sister Elisabeth takes care of him. The teenage siblings live together in one room, where they have developed several private games. Paul's schoolmate Gérard is secretly enamored of Elisabeth, and often stays with them. When Elisabeth introduces her new friend Agathe to Paul, he recognizes that she resembles Dargelos strongly, and immediately falls in love with her. Elisabeth marries a rich young American Jew, Michael, but he dies in a car accident the day after the wedding. Elisabeth inherits his big apartment with 18 rooms and a gallery, and the four friends move into it. Paul sleeps in the gallery, where he builds a replica of the siblings' old room. Both Paul and Agathe are secretly enamored of the other. When each of them reveals this ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

a love story by Jean Cocteau

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

28 July 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les Enfants Terribles  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The line spoken by Cocteau when Elisabeth is looking at her hands, "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand...", is from Macbeth Act 5 scene 1, by William Shakespeare. See more »

Goofs

The amount of blood on Paul's face changes between when he is in the shop and when he is in the taxi. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: A great mystery was made clear: Elisabeth hadn't married him for his money nor his elegance or charm. She married him for his death.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto in A minor for 2 violins and string orchestra (Opus 3, No. 8; RV 522)
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Increasingly intriguing chamber-piece..."
24 February 2012 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

French actor, producer, screenwriter and director Jean-Pierre Melville's second feature film which he produced and co-wrote with Jean Cocteau, is an adaptation of a novel from 1929 by French poet, author, playwright and filmmaker Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) who was recovering from an opium addiction while he wrote the novel. It tells the story about the young siblings Paul and Elisabeth who lives with their bed-ridden mother whom is taken care of by her daughter. Paul and Elisabeth has isolated themselves from the world and in their shared room they have created their own private universe. After being hit by a snowball at school by his friend Dargelos whom he admires, Paul becomes ill and is nursed by Elisabeth. During the time when Elisabeth takes care of her brother, they evolve an incestuous relationship and creates an emotionally afflicting game. Paul and Elisabeth joyfully keeps on playing their inside games even after their mother passes away and doesn't conceive much of what is going on in the outside world, but their closed imaginary world is shattered when visitors from the real world begins to show up.

This distinctly directed French production which was shot on various locations in Paris, France draws a vivid and detailed portrayal of a strangely erotic and tormenting relationship between a brother and a sister who in their secluded world invents a seemingly childish though unrelenting and unrestrained game where the aim is to inflict as much emotional harm on one another as possible. Independent filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville's character-driven, dialog-driven and continually and increasingly intriguing chamber-piece about the abnormal intimacy and the forbidden attraction within a brother-sister relationship where the insinuations of incest are prominent, incisively depicts two intertwining studies of character.

Visually, this lyrical coming-of-age tale is marked by it's dreamlike production design by Jean Pierre-Melville (1917-1973) and Emile Mathys, black-and-white cinematography by cinematographer Henri Decaë (1915-1987) and milieu depictions. Intimately narrated by Jean Cocteau and finely paced, this dark mystery of merging personalities is charged by it's quick-witted dialog and the poignant atmosphere which is increased by the music from Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). This invariably moving psychological drama is reinforced by it's stringent narrative structure and the unflinching and empathic acting performance by French actress Nicole Stéphane (1923-2007) and the understated acting performance by Italian actor Edouard Dermithe (1925-1995). A bleak and maliciously humorous character drama which gained a nomination for Best Foreign Actress Nicole Stéphane at the sixth BAFTA Awards in 1952.


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