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Les Enfants Terribles [1950] [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Nicole Stéphane, Edouard Dermithe, Renée Cosima, Jacques Bernard, Melvyn Martin
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled, Black & White, Full Screen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Aug. 2004
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002GZA4S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,521 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES
A film by Jean-Pierre Melville
From the novel by Jean Cocteau

In this compelling tale of incestuous obsession, teenage brother and sister Paul and Elisabeth live 'like two limbs of a single body' inside their untidy shared bedroom. Within the room, they live, sleep, argue and play out their erotically charged games without heed to the real world going on around them. However, when outsiders intrude into their intensely private realm, the scene is set for tragedy.

A relatively unknown filmmaker at the time, Melville had impressed Cocteau with his striking first feature, the Occupation drama Le Silence de la mer (1947), and here he brings a cool, lucid eye to Jean Cocteau s claustrophobic, hothouse novel. Les Enfants terribles is evidence of the tension between these two dramatically different filmmakers, yet together they have created a hauntingly atmospheric film.

Spawning several imitations and most recently an inspiration for Bertolucci's The Dreamers (2003), Les Enfants terribles is dominated by a performance of fierce intensity by Nicole Stéphane as the scheming heroine Elisabeth, and music by Bach and Vivaldi forms the film's provocative, impassioned score.

DVD extras

  • Feature commentary by novelist and critic Gilbert Adair
  • Interview with actress Nicole Stéphane
  • Original poster
  • Director, writer and cast biographies
  • France | 1950 | black & white | French language with English subtitles | 102 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD

Review

'One of the most vibrantly cinematic pictures of the post-war years' --The Observer

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Jun. 2007
Format: DVD
Jean Cocteau's 1929 novel "les Enfants Terribles" is something something once read never forgotten. This film from 1949 with a screenplay by Cocteau who closely oversaw every aspect of the production brings the book to life Cocteau also narrates the voice over.

Siblings Elisabeth (Nicole Stephane) and Paul (Edouard Demithe) have a quasi incestuous relationship sleeping in the same bedroom, the aggressive Elisabeth constantly arguing with her brother, and sharing obsessive behaviour collecting useless "treasures" and sharing secrets.

They are later joined in this cluttered hothouse existence by Gerard (Jaques Bernard) and Agathe (Renee Cosima).

Cocteau draws us in to an unnatural but possible world of perverted adolescence, illuminated by the magic of his writing.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Oct. 2014
Format: DVD
This 1950 collaboration between the film’s director Jean-Pierre Melville and Jean Cocteau (who provided the source novel, the script and the film’s voiceover) is a fascinating, although (for me) flawed, piece of film-making. We were still six years away from Melville’s first 'noir’-like Bob Le Flambeur and a couple of decades from the likes of Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge – instead, the Cocteau influence seeps through every pore of Les Enfants with its flowery, poetic (though often oblique) dialogue, stunning imagery and often dreamy, surrealistic look-and-feel (which contrasts with the film’s rousing, classical – Bach and Vivaldi – score). And, although the film’s central premise of Nicole Stéphane and Edouard Dermithe’s mutually-obsessed, unspoken incestuous, teenage siblings (though both actors were well into their twenties), Elisabeth and Paul, and their loves, rivalries and personal games, provide a potentially quite strong narrative basis for Melville’s film, it scores most highly for me on its more ethereal qualities.

That is not to say that each of Stéphane and Dermithe are unimpressive as what are, essentially, unlikeable characters. Stéphane, in particular, from rather overdoing the 'mannered’ acting early on, eventually does become more convincing as the darker, duplicitous Elisabeth she had been threatening, and both she and Dermithe are always 'good to look at’ (particularly via cinematographer, Henri Decae’s repeated close-ups, often straight to camera).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By a nonymous on 4 Dec. 2013
Format: DVD
I don't often write reviews partly because I'm a lazy so-and-so and partly because for most things that I would review there are already plenty - but not so with this movie - This is a lot better than the 3 one/two star reviews would have you believe ( they seem to be Melville fans grumbling about this being unlike his other movies ) though it is a rather silly film in some ways - for instance having twentysomethings playing schoolkids/teenagers - it's also got a lot going for it though whether I can articulate exactly what I'm not so sure....I'm really here to bump up it's overall rating....
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