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Les Cousins (1959)

Les cousins (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 23 November 1959 (USA)
A pair of cousins share a flat, but animosity begins to build between the two when a woman gets involved.

Director:

Claude Chabrol

Writers:

Claude Chabrol (scenario), Paul Gégauff (dialogue)
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Cast

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

France

Language:

French | German

Release Date:

23 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les Cousins See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Quotes

La femme de ménage: [Arriving the morning after the party] Goodness me! You made a racket last night! The fifth floor wasn't happy.
Paul Thomas: I don't blame them.
Italian Count Minerva: Please forgive us. Your lovely city is to blame. Good-bye, madam.
La femme de ménage: A proper gentleman. A foreigner?
Paul Thomas: Yes, Italian. But not as proper as you think.
La femme de ménage: Good Lord, look at this! Were you fighting?
Paul Thomas: This is Babylon, madam.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.34 (1961) 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 »

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User Reviews

 
THE COUSINS (Claude Chabrol, 1959) ***
3 July 2010 | by MARIO GAUCISee 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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