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Cousins
     

Les Cousins

3.5 2
Director: Claude Chabrol

Cast: Gérard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Juliette Mayniel

 

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This was the first of several films that would win international awards for French New Wave director Claude Chabrol. His aloof, innovative approach to the simple story says as much as the plot itself in which two cousins symbolize polar opposites. Charles (Gerard Blain ) is the cousin from the provinces with "bourgeois" values. His steadfast determination

Overview

This was the first of several films that would win international awards for French New Wave director Claude Chabrol. His aloof, innovative approach to the simple story says as much as the plot itself in which two cousins symbolize polar opposites. Charles (Gerard Blain ) is the cousin from the provinces with "bourgeois" values. His steadfast determination unfortunately does not help him pass exams or at first, succeed with women. Paul (Jean-Claude Brialy) is the urbane, rather debauched and decadent cousin who appears to conquer all. Appearances can be deceiving as they soon discover when Charles falls for Paul's friend Florence (Juliette Mayniel) -- and tragedy waits in the wings.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Most tales of the "city mouse, country mouse" variety tend to be rather lighthearted, but Les Cousins takes a darker view of the situation, resulting in a fascinating, mesmerizing, bleak film, the comedy of which is distinctly black. In director/writer Claude Chabrol's tale, the simple virtues of "good" cousin Charles cannot compete with the decadent force of will the "bad" cousin Paul. In Charles' eyes, it is all unfair, yet Chabrol doesn't see it that way. There isn't really fair or unfair, or perhaps it's more correct to say that determining fair and unfair requires a more complex way of looking at things than is normally assumed. Moral ambiguity and guilt are Chabrol's stock in trade here, and he layers the story with them in a most affecting manner. The result is a cruel film, but its brutality has an honesty to it. One cannot warm to Paul, whose arrogance and sadism keep him at a distance. But Charles never quite captures one's heart either, despite his role as the victim. Chabrol contrasts them in a complicated pas de deux that brings them vividly to life. He's aided immeasurably by Gerard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy's letter-perfect performances, as ell as by an equally effective on from Juliette Mayniel. Some will find Cousins difficult to watch, especially the orgy sequence with its Nazi ending. But those who can stick with it will be amply rewarded.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/20/2011
UPC:
0715515086615
Original Release:
1959
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:49:00
Sales rank:
47,742

Special Features

Audio commentary featuring film scholar Adrian Martin; Theatrical trailer; A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty and excerpts from actor Jean-Claude Brialy's memoir, about costar Gérar Blain

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gérard Blain Charles
Jean-Claude Brialy Paul
Juliette Mayniel Florence
Claude Cerval Clovis
Geneviève Cluny Geneviève
Michele Meritz Yvonne
Guy Decomble Bookseller
Corrado Guarducci Italian Count
Stéphane Audran Françoise
Paul Bisciglia Marc
Jeanne Perez Cleaning lady
Gilbert Edard Actor
Jean-Louis Maury Actor
André Jocelyn Actor
Jean-Pierre Moulin Actor
Jean-Marie Arnoux Actor

Technical Credits
Claude Chabrol Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Jean Cotet Production Manager
Philippe de Broca Asst. Director
Henri Decaë Cinematographer
Bernard Evein Production Designer
Jacques Gaillard Editor
Paul Gégauff Screenwriter
Paul Misraki Score Composer
Jean Rabier Cinematographer
Jacques Saulnier Production Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cousins
1. Opening Credits [3:42]
2. 11, Rue des Sycamores, Neuilly [5:07]
3. Call From Geneviève, Letter to Mama [5:20]
4. L'Association [5:25]
5. A Game of Bridge and Florence [5:46]
6. The Book "Seller" [3:07]
7. A Little Get-Together [3:33]
8. Florence Arrives [4:45]
9. Night Air and Poetry [9:07]
10. A Drive Through the Woods [5:53]
11. "Wake Up!" [8:19]
12. 3:00 p.m. [9:25]
13. 5:00 p.m. [3:12]
14. The Bookseller Again [1:42]
15. Three's a Crowd [10:41]
16. Paul's Success [2:39]
17. The Great Matton [6:27]
18. Charles's Failure [4:36]
19. "He Mustn't Wake Up!" [3:46]
20. Bad Odds [7:01]
21. Color Bars [:00]
1. "The Young Lion" [3:42]
2. Chabrol's Classic Setups [5:07]
3. Blain and Brialy [5:20]
4. A Director of Interiors/Chabrol's Career [5:25]
5. Chabrol's Career (Cont.) [5:46]
6. Chabrol's Take on Hitchcock [3:07]
7. The Morality of Crime [3:33]
8. Swapping Identities [4:45]
9. Minor Characters [9:07]
10. Going Toward the Tragic/Paul Gégauff [5:53]
11. Paul Gégauff (Cont.) [8:19]
12. What Does Chabrol Believe? [9:25]
13. Similarity to Fassbinder [3:12]
14. The Bookseller as Projection [1:42]
15. Paul as ID [10:41]
16. Camera Movement and Long Takes [2:39]
17. From Script to Screen [6:27]
18. The Attraction of Destruction [4:36]
19. Epicurcansim [3:46]
20. The Poet of Lost Things [7:01]
21. Color Bars [:00]

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Les Cousins 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago