This was the first of several films that would win international awards for French New Wave director Claude Chabrol. His aloof, innovative approach to the simple story says as much as the plot itself in which two cousins symbolize polar opposites. Charles (Gerard Blain ) is the cousin from the provinces with "bourgeois" values. His steadfast determination unfortunately does not help him pass exams or at first, succeed with women. Paul (Jean-Claude Brialy) is the urbane, rather debauched and decadent cousin who appears to conquer all. Appearances can be deceiving as they soon discover when Charles falls for Paul's friend Florence (Juliette Mayniel) -- and tragedy waits in the wings.
by Eleanor Mannikka synopsis