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Les Cousins

The Cousins

The town mouse and his country cousin. Or, the story of two students, one who was very, very good, and one who was very, very bad; but the bad one passed his exams, got the girl (when he wanted her), and survived to live profitably ever after. A fine, richly detailed tableau of student life in Paris, and Chabrol’s first statement (in his second film) of his sardonic view of life as a matter of the survival of the fittest. The centrepiece, as so often in the early days of the nouvelle vague, is an orgiastic party climaxed, as the guest sleeps it off next morning, by a sublimely cruel and characteristic ‘joke’ by the bad cousin (Jean-Claude Brialy) when he performs an eerie Wagnerian charade with candelabra and Gestapo cap to wake a Jewish student into nightmare.

France, 1958.
English subtitles.
Black and white.
103 min.

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