Les Enfants Terribles (1950)

Link: Les Enfants Terribles

Summary: When her brother becomes ill, his sister cares for him.  But when she realizes her brother and their house boarder are in love with each other, she works to sabotage their relationship.

Thoughts: If you can get past the rather creepy almost incestuous relationship between the brother and sister in the first act (which I guess isn’t too hard for modern audiences considering the success of Game of Thrones), the film is actually a dark comedy.  It’s a bit like a Shakespearean tragedy, with characters keeping secrets and lying to each other, but without any effort made to make the audience empathize with the main two siblings.  It is obvious they care for each other, yet they treat each other terribly, so when their situation inevitably leads to tragedy, we don’t respond with sadness or regret, but rather a sort of strange fascination with how such characters could get their relationships so warped and confused.  It’s not really realistic in this regard, but I doubt it’s meant to be; rather, it’s a strange dark tragic comedy.  Fun movie.

About: The film is based on a 1929 novel by Jean Cocteau.  Cocteau was a filmmaker himself, and there seem to be film historians who argue that this film was shaped more by Cocteau’s input than the director’s.  (Director Melville became immortal and then died, leaving everyone breathless.  Sorry.)

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