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Cousin cousine (1975)

 -  Comedy | Romance  -  25 July 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 977 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 7 critic

Two distant cousins meet at a wedding banquet for an elderly couple. Over time, a close friendship develops between them, but their spouses begin to think that they are more than just friends.

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Title: Cousin cousine (1975)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marie-Christine Barrault ...
Victor Lanoux ...
Guy Marchand ...
Ginette Garcin ...
Sybil Maas ...
Popeck ...
Pierre Plessis ...
Catherine Verlor ...
Hubert Gignoux ...
Françoise Caillaud
Véronique Dancier
Catherine Day
Carine Delamare
Maite Delamare


Husband and wife Ludovic and Karine, and Ludovic's sixteen year old daughter Nelsa lead a relatively carefree life. Motorcycle riding Ludovic, a dance instructor, changes jobs every three years to keep himself interested in whatever he's doing. Ludovic recently remarried, this time to landscape designer Karine, a younger, beautiful woman who regardless is insecure due to her immaturity. Since she doesn't know how to handle that insecurity, Ludovic has placed Karine in various forms of therapy to help her with her life. Nelsa can see the cruelties that life has to offer, and although she doesn't like them, tries to embrace them to expose them for what they are. Ludovic wants to give everybody in his life, including Karine and Nelsa, as much freedom as they need to be happy. Husband and wife Pascal and Marthe and their adolescent son Eric lead a typical middle class life. Pharmaceutical salesman Pascal likes to think of himself as important to bolster his own sense of masculinity, which... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 July 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cugino cugina  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Remade as Cousins (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Cool.....Marie-France Pisier is Great
16 January 2005 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

If you have a playful sense of humor and enjoy films with an early Fellini (celebration of life-quirky characters) flavor, you should make it a point to watch "Cousin Cousine". Released in 1975, on the surface this is just an off-beat love story about two middle-aged "cousins-by marriage" who are drawn to each other by a shared playfulness. These kindred spirits awaken in each other a zestful and irreverent attitude toward life that distances them from their large (and somewhat strange) extended family. They want to experience as much of life as possible, the man has made it a practice to change professions (not just jobs) every three years so that nothing gets stale. They are very open about their affair, reasoning that the rest of the family will think the worst anyway. Not surprisingly their affair also distances them from their respective spouses, who do not share their fun-loving and irreverent attitudes.

The lovers are played by Christine Barrault (nominated for an Oscar) and Victor Lanoux. Although they are fun and likable characters, most of the comedy in this film emanates from the performances of the actors who play their respective spouses. Guy Marchand plays Barrault's husband as a cranky and pathetic Cassanova whose philandering lifestyle is cramped by his inability to cope with his wife's sudden infidelity. Marie-France Pisier, as Lanoux's neurotic airhead wife, subtly steals each scene in which she appears; when a character introduces themselves with the revelation that the only time they have ever been happy was during hypnotherapy, you know that interesting moments are ahead. And for what it is worth Pisier is breathtakingly beautiful.

The affair causes the Marchand and Pisier characters a great deal of pain for most of the film, but by the end they have pretty much adjusted to everything. Marchand has resumed his pursue of other women and Pisier has returned to her main source of pleasure-therapy. Marchand's regeneration occurs with his first playful moment, he mounts a knife (fake) in his back and staggers into the living room to the shock of the assembled relatives. While Pisier's regeneration is the best scene of the film. Alone and fully clothed in the bathroom, she half-heartedly tries to slit her wrist with a razor blade and falls backward into the empty tub, which she unexpectedly finds a pleasant and relaxing place to think. And how appropriate since the bathtub is a device we associate with privacy, purgation, relaxation, openness, and regeneration.

They say that all films are political and "Cousin Cousine" is no exception. Films have the power to deconstruct the traditional values of society and this love story is also a social commentary on the hypocrisy and double-standards of 1970's western middle class culture. And while pointing out these issues it offers psycho-political messages that each viewer can relate to personally and specifically. The theme is that each day should be a celebration of life, experience, and growth.

The grandfather is shown as someone whose long life has given him a real perspective. He is pleased when his teenage granddaughter reveals that she has discovered sex and found it to be wonderful, delighted that she has found something see finds wonderful and amused because her joy is so contrary to the nihilism she had been embracing. He is self-sufficient, the widowed grandmother from the other side of the family enjoys being with him but realizes that he is perfectly comfortable and prefers living alone. He is disturbed by the failure of the family to take any significant time from their lives to mourn his brother's passing.

The strange antics of the adults in this extended family are a source of great amusement to the observant children. The carnival music score gives the many extended and flowing group shots a pleasing circus side-show attraction flavor.

Note how the film opens with one of families driving to the wedding; parents in the front seat, brother and little sister in the back seat. The parents are agitated and scolding, the children calm and attentive to the experience of the moment. They go out of the scene with the little sister sliding over to be closer to her brother and smiling in adoration. The same little observant girl appears in close-up periodically throughout the film, smiling in amusement at the antics of everyone around her. The film ends with the little girl smiling serenely out the window as she watches the lovers leave on their motorcycle.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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