7.4/10
1,651
10 user 35 critic

Les Cousins (1959)

Les cousins (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 23 November 1959 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Writers:

(scenario), (dialogue)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Le Beau Serge (1958)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Francois comes back to his home village in France after more than a decade. He notices that the village hasn't changed much, but the people have, especially his old friend Serge who has ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Gérard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michèle Méritz
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Four Parisian women navigate the world of romance and daily life looking to fulfill their dreams but often find real-life to be inescapable.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Bernadette Lafont, Clotilde Joano, Stéphane Audran
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

André Mercier, a journalist known as Albin Mercier, is a failed, embittered writer. Sent to cover an event in Germany, he gets to know Andreas Hartmann, another writer who, for his part, ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Jacques Charrier, Stéphane Audran, Walther Reyer
Leda (1959)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A wealthy wine grower has trouble with his wife, his children, his best friend, and his mistress across the way, who is murdered.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Madeleine Robinson, Antonella Lualdi, Jean-Paul Belmondo
Les Biches (1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Architect Paul Thomas insinuates himself into the relationship of two bisexual women living in a St. Tropez villa with tragic consequences.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacqueline Sassard, Stéphane Audran
Masques (1987)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Roland Wolf wants to write a book about a TV game-show host, the hail-fellow-well-met Christian Legagneur, who invites Wolf to his country estate, promising several days of lengthy ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Robin Renucci, Bernadette Lafont
Wise Guys (1961)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Jean-Claude Brialy, Bernadette Lafont, Jean Tissier
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The upper-class owner of a gallery, Catherine Lelievre, hires the efficient and quiet maid Sophie to work in the family manor in the French countryside. Her husband Georges Lelievre, who is... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacqueline Bisset
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Marie Latour, a woman of limited schooling, raises two children in a ratty flat during World War II in occupied France. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from German captivity, too weak to ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, François Cluzet, Marie Trintignant
Certificate: M Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Charles Desvallées has good reasons to believe that his wife is cheating on him and hires a P.D. in order to prove himself right. Once he knows the lover is writer Victor Pégala, he drives ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Stéphane Audran, Michel Bouquet, Maurice Ronet
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In a small Breton town, a 10-year-old girl is found murdered. René, her art teacher, a professional painter, is the last person to have seen her alive. The inspector in charge of the ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacques Gamblin, Antoine de Caunes
Certificate: GP Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Single father obsessed with murdering the hit&run driver who killed his only child, poses as a screenwriter to get close to an actress who was in the death car. He feels fully prepared to ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier, Jean Yanne
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 21355. See more »

Quotes

Paul Thomas: Listen, what's all this business with Charles? What game are you playing?
Florence: I'm just playing.
Paul Thomas: At least you're honest. And what are you getting out of it?
Florence: A sort of dreaminess.
See more »

Connections

References The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

40e Symphonie en Sol Majeur (Koechel 550) 1er movement
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W.A. Mozart)
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra (as Orchestre Symphonique de Londres)
Conducted by Josef Krips (as Joseph Krips)
Disque DECCA
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Chabrol plays Russian roulette with the French New Wave and wins

Les Cousins is definitively part of the French New Wave of the late 1950s. Whilst slightly more polished than the films of his contemporaries (notably Godard and Truffaut), Chabrol's film bubbles with an insurgence of new cinematographic techniques and fresh acting talent. The sense of newness is reinforced by presence of so many young actors, dressed elegantly in tuxedos and evening dresses, but acting somewhat delinquently for the most part. The film appears almost like the christening party for the birth of a new era in French cinema.

Both the direction and photography are of a high calibre and capture very well the changing mood of the central character, Charles. The film starts cheerfully and optimistically with the young man's arrival in Paris. Like him, we are enchanted by the bright lights, the wide boulevards and the historic monuments. But then, little by little, the mood changes to ennui and disappointment when the shallowness of the Paris jet set is revealed. Finally, a much darker mood prevails as Charles' best efforts to succeed are brutally crushed by a combination of circumstances, partly of his own making but largely as a result of the hand of fate. This ability to alter the mood of the film so subtly and effectively is one of Chabrol's great skills as a director and is used to far greater effect in some of his subsequent thrillers.

Both of the two central characters, Charles and Paul, are played admirably by Gérard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy. Blain manages to capture the innocence of the outsider and offers a sympathetic and memorable performance. Brialy seems to revel in his role as the extravagant city student, hosting his parties with the gusto of a true bon-vivant, whilst exhibiting a more complicated and sensitive persona in his conversations with the characters Charles and Florence.

Both actors were used by Chabrol in an earlier film, Le Beau Serge, which, in some ways, is the mirror image of Les Cousins. In Le Beau Serge, Brialy played a city boy who returns to his home in a provincial town where he met up wih a childhood friend played by Blain. Brialy's character was the outsider and ultimately he was destroyed by his alien surroundings. In Les Cousins, the situation is cleverly reversed. Here, Blain's character is a country boy who joins Brialy in the city of Paris. It is Blain's character who is now the outsider, and who is finally destroyed by his unfamiliar environment. It is interesting to watch the two films back-to-back, to note the similarities and compare the differences. Both films seem to side with the outsider and condemn the society that rejects him, although it is perhaps disappointing that, in both cases, that the outsider is destroyed without having any significant impact on the society that crushed him. At least, in Le Beau Serge, the victim's fate was sealed by an altruistic desire to do some good for the community that rejected him, whereas in Les Cousins, the victim brought his destruction on himself by trying to attack the society he felt so repulsive.

Les Cousins lacks the emotional intensity of Le Beau Serge and appears in some places a little too stage-managed. (The ending is particularly stagy, but it works perfectly to the film's advantage.) On the plus side, Les Cousins benefits from a far superior musical score, a more interesting set of characters, and some impressive location filming in Paris. It is an engaging and accessible film which still appears fresh and vibrant.


20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
wonderful film Beckham7
DVD? axsmashcrushallthree
Wiki's got it all wrong... goodvibe61
Juliette Mayniel theachilles
Why is Claude Cerval so low down in the IMDb list of credits? Khayyam1048
Discuss Les Cousins (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?