Les Enfants Terribles (film)

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Les Enfants Terribles
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Produced by Jean-Pierre Melville
Written by Jean Cocteau
Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring Nicole Stéphane
Edouard Dermit
Cinematography Henri Decaë
Distributed by Janus Films
Release dates
Running time
106 minutes
Country France
Language French

Les Enfants Terribles ("The terrible children") is a 1950 French film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and based on Jean Cocteau's novel of the same name. The first feature film of Melville, Le Silence de la Mer (1949), attracted the attention of Jean Cocteau, who commissioned him to direct the film version of Les Enfants Terribles.


Elisabeth is very protective of her teenage brother Paul, who has been injured in a snowball fight at school and has to rest in bed most of the time. The siblings are inseparable, living in the same room, fighting, playing secret games, and rarely leaving the house. Paul’s friend, Gerard, often drops by to stay with them. One day Elisabeth brings home Agathe to live with them. She bears a strong resemblance to Dargelos, a schoolboy whom Paul had a crush on and the same boy who injured him. Paul and Agathe become attracted to each other, causing Elisabeth to be very jealous.

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