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Two distant cousins meet at a wedding banquet for an elderly couple. Over time, a close friendship develops between them, but their spouses begin to think that they are more than just friends.
For more about Cousin cousine and the Cousin cousine Blu-ray release, see Cousin cousine Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on June 15, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Marie-France Pisier, Marie-Christine Barrault, Victor Lanoux, Guy Marchand
Director: Jean-Charles Tacchella
» See full cast & crew
Cousin cousine Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, June 15, 2011
Winner of Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actress, Jean-Charles Tacchella's "Cousin cousine" (1975) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French distributors Gaumont. The only supplemental features on the disc are the film's original theatrical trailer and a documentary film by Pierre-Henri Gibert. In French, with English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Distant cousins Marthe (Marie-Christine Barrault, My Night at Maud's, Manuela's Loves) and Ludovic (Victor Lanoux, The French Detective, Servant and Mistress) meet at a wedding party. They talk, dance and then talk some more. At the end of the night, they arrange to see each other again. Both are married and have children.
A few days later, Marthe's husband, Pascal (Guy Marchand, Coup de Torchon, Mortelle randonnée), who has been cheating on her for years, decides to end his affairs. Referring to a small notebook, he visits all of his lovers and quietly explains to them that he is no longer interested in seeing them. Some of the women are incredibly disappointed, others are relieved. Ludovic's wife, Karine (Marie-France Pisier, Love at Twenty, Trans-Europ-Express), who has also cheated on him, suddenly realizes that she is married to the right man.
Meanwhile, Marthe and Ludovic begin seeing each other. They talk about their marriages, their careers and dreams. Ludovic also explains to Marthe that he never keeps a job for more than three years because he likes to be challenged - now he is a dance instructor. Marthe confesses to Ludovic that there are already plenty of challenges for her at home.
At the wedding of her mother and his uncle, Marthe and Ludovic dance again - in a way that convinces everyone that they have fallen in love. Later on, Pascal attempts to confront Marthe but is quickly reminded about his affairs. Karine does the same but immediately discovers that Ludovic would not mind if she left him.
Marthe and Ludovic decide not to sleep together so that they could prolong what they are experiencing for as long as possible. For both of them it is something new, something that has made them feel alive again. But the more time they spend together, the more everyone around them begins to question their relationship.
What makes Jean-Charles Tacchella's Cousin cousine so fascinating to behold is its simplicity, the lack of glamour and melodrama that typically appear in similarly themed Hollywood produced films. Marthe and Ludovic and adults who have led normal lives for a long time – they aren't overly disappointed with them but, clearly, they are not pleased with them either. For a variety of different reasons, both have been compromising a lot more than they expected to before they married.
When they meet, they experience something both thought has been lost - the feeling of being alive. This is a cliche description, but in Cousin cousine it is absolutely true. Neither Marthe nor Ludovic begin making plans for the future, they simply enjoy the feeling which both realize will likely disappear as soon as they make love.
A more recent film that explores a similar relationship is Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu's To Paint or Make Love (2005), starring Daniel Auteuil, Sabine Azema, Amira Casar, and Sergi Lopez. In it, however, instead of two individuals there are two middle-age couples. The progression of their relationship is also slightly different.
Note: In 1976, Cousin cousine won Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actress (Marie-France Pisier). A year later, the film won three Oscar nominations, including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Marie-Christine Barrault).
Cousin cousine Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jean-Charles Tacchella's Cousin cousine arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French distributors Gaumont.
Gaumont continue to impress with wonderful Blu-ray releases of classic French films. Their latest one, Cousin cousine, again boasts a strong high-definition transfer struck from a newly restored master. Naturally, the presentation is of exceptionally high quality -- detail is excellent, clarity very impressive throughout the entire film, and contrast levels well balanced. Additionally, there is a good range of warm and natural colors that give the entire film a lovely organic look. The lack of sharpening and heavy filtering also helps a lot -- consistent, light grain is very easy to see all the time. There are absolutely no stability issues either. Finally, there are no damage marks, flecks, scratches, or debris. Indeed, this is a fine presentation that confirms my belief that Gaumont are one of the very best producers operating in France. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Cousin cousine Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0. For the record, Gaumont have provided optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 has a good dynamic amplitude that serves Gérard Anfosso's music score quite well. The main music theme is rather short but appears a number of times throughout the film, adding plenty of color and easing the transition from comedy to drama very well. The dialog is crisp, clean, and always very easy to follow. There are no problematic pops, cracks, hissings, or audio dropouts either. Lastly, the English translation is excellent.
Cousin cousine Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc are perfectly playable on North American PS3s and SAs.
Cousin cousine Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Gaumont have produced yet another fantastic Blu-ray release of a classic French film. While I am delighted to have Cousine cousine in my library, I was a bit saddened by it because it reminded me that earlier this year French cinema lost one of its greatest beauties - Marie-France Pisier. If interested in classic French films, Cousin cousine comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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