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Les Tricheurs (The Cheats) was director Marcel Carne's first film after a two-year absence from the screen. On the surface, the film is a gallic variation of an American j.d. film, with young, aimless teenagers being led astray by jazz music rather than Rock 'N' Roll.
But there's much more to the story than that: Carne's youthful characters are not so much people as symbols of the postwar relaxation of worldwide manners and mores.
In anticipation of the hippie flicks of the 1960s, the main characters indulge in a great deal of sex, but abstain from true love and commitment, citing these things as irrelevant in a world full of instant gratification. Of the cast, Pascale Petit stands out as a trendy young girl whose willingness to follow the crowd leads to tragedy.