Les Enfants Terribles (The Criterion Collection)
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I found movie fascinating, although some of the acting I found to be overdramatic and certain actors miscast. But the idea of the movie and deep tragedy of the situation between brother and sister, kept me at the edge of my seat until the end.
If you watch this movie, you must see the documentary commentary about making of the movie. Drama did not start and end with the story presented in this classic, but it is the drama behind the camera that was unnerving all along. Save time to watch this brief commentary because it will give you some great insight about the complex relationship between actors, director and writer during the creative process.
I could not stop thinking about another movie with the similar theme : "The Cement Garden" made from Ian McEwan's book. While the idea of the incest is common for both of these works of art, the characters in "The Cemenet Garden" are much better casted and developed. In any case, watching this movie will be time well spent.
Of this movie collaboration between two talented filmmakers came an important question. Are we dealing with a Jean Cocteau movie or a Jean-Pierre Melville work? In a "credits" sense, this is a Jean-Pierre Melville film. But as many film viewers know of Cocteau's influence on the script, the dialogues, the set designs, a cinematography, and an editing work more frenetic and much closer to Hitchcock, many have felt this movie as Cocteau's work. It is even a debate that comes up in the Special features of this DVD as Experts discuss during an exhibition of Cocteau in Paris, while friends and collaborators of Cocteau try to answer that question. Among them, one of the producer even said that Melville almost renounced that movie. But personally, I think this movie is a collaborative partnership.Read more ›
The plot of the movie centers around a brother and sister who have an unusually close relationship. It's not made clear in the movie if it's an incestual relationship, but the overtones are certainly there (indeed, when they make references to the "games" they play, one can easily substitute the word "sex", and remove all doubt).
Both children, apparently around sixteen, spend a great deal of time isolated in the room they share, and woe betide anyone who invades their sanctum. All is reasonably well until the sister marries a wealthy man, who soon dies, giving her, her brother and their friends a large house to live in.
From a technical standpoint a lot to admire in this film. There's a great deal of poetry in the visuals, some wonderful acting, and some powerful dialogue. But for me, as I said, something was missing. I'm not sure what it was. I SHOULD have liked this movie more than I did. Perhaps on subsequent viewings, I will like it more.
For now, though, it gets three stars. But at least it's a SOLID three stars, and I certainly don't feel as though I wasted my money by buying it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this movie for my collection of foreign films. I have seen it several times, and every time I have been touched by the story.Published 8 months ago by Monikin East
Don't expect the old stable conventions of plot and coherent characterization in this film. Based on Cocteau's 1929 novel, Jean-Pierre Melville's film captures the surrealist... Read morePublished on August 23, 2012 by Dr. Laurence Raw
It took time to build, but when things got really rolling, I felt things could not happen otherwise. The settings and actresses are truly fine. Read morePublished on April 2, 2009 by Ignacio Litardo
1.)This is a terrific film for anyone fond of Cocteau or anyone fond of the screwed-up nature of human beings. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? Read morePublished on September 16, 2007 by Steven M. Fregeau
This is a film I wish Jean-Pierre Melville never made. It's so removed from his milieu that I can't help being reminded of Alfred Hitchcock's involvement with the romantic comedy,... Read morePublished on August 26, 2007 by J. A. Eyon
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