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A Turkish ambassador arrives in Paris to sign an important trade agreement, allowing Turkey to buy a sophisticated new war plane from France. Immediately he is the target of an assassin, and a special agent is assigned to protect him.
Charles is a young provincial coming up to Paris to study law. He shares his cousin Paul's flat. Paul is a kind of decadent boy, a disillusioned pleasure-seeker, always dragging along with other idles, while Charles is a plodding, naive and honest man. He fell in love with Florence, one of Paul's acquaintances. But how will Paul react to that attempt to build a real love relationship ? One of the major New Wave films. Written by
Chabrol's tribute to 'Les Enfants Terribles' is his least typical film, but contains many seeds of his later genius.
Chabrol before he truly became Chabrol. This might seem to be one of his more 'realistic' films, with its obligatory nouvelle vague scene of Parisian freewheeling, but one of 'Les Cousins'' main themes is the disparity between reality and fantasy, and the fate of those who cannot tell between them. Just as paul turns his personality into a series of roles, his life into ritualistic tableaux, so Chabrol suffuses his realistic narrative with references to myth, fable, fairy tale, opera, and, especially, film.
'Les Cousins' plays like a counterpart to Melville's 'Les Enfants Terribles', with the same theatricality, claustrophobia, incestuousness, and mythological base; the same cinematographer, even one of Melville's actors! most interesting is the development of Chabrol's style, the lockjaw camerawork, the complex use of point of view, the puncturing of solemnity with incongruous humour (see especially the hilarious 'fish' scene).
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