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Les Cousins (1959)
"Les cousins" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  23 November 1959 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,247 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 32 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gérard Blain ...
Charles
...
Paul Thomas
Juliette Mayniel ...
Florence
Guy Decomble ...
Le libraire
Geneviève Cluny ...
Geneviève
Michèle Méritz ...
Yvonne
Corrado Guarducci ...
Italian Count Minerva
...
Françoise
Paul Bisciglia ...
Marc
Jeanne Pérez ...
La femme de ménage
Françoise Vatel ...
Martine
André Chanal
Gilbert Edard
Clara Gansard
Jean-Louis Maury ...
Un étudiant joueur de bridge
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Storyline

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 Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cousins  »

Box Office

Budget:

FRF 6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two ends were filmed, one optimistic (the reconciliation between the two cousins, which was discarded, and the other pessimistic (which was finally chosen). See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Good Time Girls (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Prélude de Mort d'Isolde(extrait de Tristan et Isolde)
Music by Richard Wagner
Performed by Orchestre de la Société du Two Conservatoire
Conducted by Carl Schuricht
Disque DECCA
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE COUSINS (Claude Chabrol, 1959) ***
3 July 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is more akin to the recognizable style of the "Nouvelle Vague" (with one of the characteristics being an unduly harsh quality to the cinematography, typically a prerogative of the film noir genre) than Chabrol's previous (and first) film, HANDSOME SERGE (1958).

Interestingly, while it features the same two leads – Gerard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy – their roles are practically reversed (with the former now ingenuous and the latter world-weary), and set this time around in Paris rather than the provinces. Incidentally, the film forms a trilogy of sorts with Chabrol's other tales of amoral youth, all stemming from the vitriolic pen of the ill-fated Paul Gegauff i.e. LES BONNES FEMMES (1960) and WISE GUYS (1961).

Unfortunately, I did not watch this in the most congenial atmosphere – being a recording off French TV with subtitles in that language (it is odd that such an essential piece in both the director's canon and the influential "New Wave" filmography seems to be otherwise unavailable!). Anyway, having sensed a nod to Fellini in Chabrol's THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS (1967), I can see definite links with this earlier effort (especially Brialy interrupting a wild party at his flat with a candle-lit recital of an epic German poem) – and which actually predates a similar occurrence in LA DOLCE VITA (1960) itself!

The film is also notable for being Stephane Audran's first collaboration (out of a total of 23!) with Chabrol; though her role is secondary, and a sluttish one at that, the actress – with hair dyed blonde – manages to make an impression nevertheless (she obviously did on her director, since they would eventually be married until 1980). Actually, the leading lady here is doe-eyed Juliette Mayniel (soon to play an unwilling donor in Georges Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE [1960] – ironically, one of several distinguished native directors dismissed as archaic by Godard et al), not an actress usually attached to the "New Wave" movement but who acquits herself exceedingly well under the circumstances.

Other characters within the narrative include yet another ambiguous and, in this case, much older live-in figure (who also acts as a bad influence on the heroine) and a librarian harboring almost paternal feelings for Blain. The film's abrupt tragic ending, casually treated by the director and deemed pointless by some, would seem to be suggesting that the bustle of city life spells the death of innocence (especially for someone not attuned to its grinding pace).

P.S. With this, I concluded my nearly two-month tribute to the octogenarian French master that included 27 films (all of them being first viewings!) and I regret not having had more time to revisit some of his other work – particularly A' DOUBLE TOUR (1959), LES BONNES FEMMES, TEN DAYS WONDER (1971) and INNOCENTS WITH DIRTY HANDS (1975)! For the record, I intend to pursue a similar retrospective for Jean-Luc Godard, who will himself turn 80 next December…


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