Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Nelly Borgeaud, Martine Ferrière, Marcel Berbert
Director: François Truffaut
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
This enthralling, erotic tale of a young millionaire and his mysterious bride is "bewitching" (The New York Times), "exciting and beautiful" (Time). Written and directed by legendary cinematic genius FranÃ§ois Truffaut (Ju... more »
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La Belle de Soir
Alysson Oliveira | Sao Paulo-- Brazil | 02/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If on one hand, "La Sirène du Mississipi" is not Truffaut's best, on the other, it is much better than many films we see nowadays -- say, the quasi-remake of this, called "Original Sin", starring Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas. Both films are based on Willian Irish's --or, if you will, Cornell Woolrich's -- "Waltz into Darkness". But the similarities end here. While Truffaut is an exercise of style and good taste, the other, directed by Michael Cristofer, is so meaningless that is almost vulgar. The plot is very simple, but at the same time catching. A man from Reunion Island orders a mail bride. When he meets her, she turns up to be more beautiful and dangerous than described in the letters and shown in the photos. He imedeately falls for her, and apparently so does she. We, and so does he, learn that she is not really what she meant to be. The film has some fine and exciting twists that keep you wondering what would come next. Catherine Deneuve plays the femme fatale. She comes fresh from Buñuel's "La Belle du Jour", where she has already exercised and improved her glacial blonde side. Here, she goes a bit further, including a bit more of dissimulantion. Not only is she beautiful, but also, very effective as the woman who can dissimulate love. Jean Paul Belmondo plays a very different character from those he had been cast for. He is a bit silly and weak. So the whole relationship is dominated by her, once she is very strong and persuasive. One clear example of this is when they are buying a car. He is sure he wants the silver one, that would be more discreet, but she wants the red one... guess which one they buy! So, don't be fooled, this is a Catherine Deneuve's show. She is dazzingly in her Yves Saint-Laurent. She dominates the frames in every scene she is in! And even some she is out.Another thing, many people may not understand the difference between "tu" and "vous" in this film. It is not a mistake! The writer meant to show different periods in their relationship. When they are close --things are fine-- they use `tu', but sometimes they use `vous', particulary, after spending a time apart-- this means how distant from each other --as a strange -- they became.Truffaut's work is as always very effective and very creative. In the very beginning he does an homage to Jean Renoir, using some footage of his "La Marseillase" introducing Reunion Island. Although this film is meant to be a thriller, in the end, it is much more a love story. A tragic love story of a love that probably shouldn't have happened. We also have to notice how hidden and subtle the sexuality is, in this movie -- as in most of Truffaut's woks. Some of his films may be virtually sexless, but if you watch it very close, you will see sparkles of love everywhere. As a devoted fan of François Truffaut, every film he made, interests me. This "Mississipi Mermaid" makes no exeception. It is intriguing, interesting and disturbing. "Love hurts?", somebody asks in the film. "Yes, it does, when I look at you, you are so beautiful that hurts me. [...] it is a joy and a suffering". As most of his movies: they are a joy, but they also hurt us, once they show how human nature and love can be."
A noire thriller from Truffaut
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 08/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although Mississippi Mermaid was considered one of Truffaut's losers, it has charm and the personalities of the characters will stay with you. It's clearly better than its reputation. Said to be influenced by Hitchcock and then rendered in the Truffautian style, it is a little off the beaten track, and the coincidences are a little ridiculous. Nonetheless Catherine Deneuve is outstanding and strangely at home in a role considered by many to be out of character for her, as though Grace Kelly might play Bonnie in "Bonnie and Clyde." This comes five years after Deneuve charmed audiences in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), and two years after her success in Belle de Jour (1967). She stars here as a skanky ex-home girl with a murderous heart... For all her elegant beauty Deneuve does manage to look cheap and almost sleazy. In some ways she comes to life in this role more than in any other I've seen. Certainly I've never seen her sexier.Co-star Jean-Paul Belmondo is engaging as a slightly sweet and naive tobacco farmer from Reunion Island (near Madagascar) who gets Deneuve as a mail order bride, she and her bad boyfriend having first dumped the real mail order bride overboard en route. If you've never seen Belmondo you should since he was a sensation in his prime, something like a French Marlon Brando."
Dennis Littrell | 01/03/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The story is entertaining enough, but there is not much joy from viewing this DVD. The problem is that the folks producing it apparently were trying to win the contest for the DVD having the world's squattest image. It is EXTREMELY letterboxed WITHIN a 16:9 widescreen format. Even your zoom function won't help you, because the producers moved the subtitles into the black-bar region (and the subtitles are about 2/3 the height of the image itself. The movie becomes simply uninvolving when you see low-resolution images on a thin ribbon across the screen."
Meeting Miss "Right"
Dennis Littrell | 04/26/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film involves the story of a man seeking his "perfect mate" by means of an ad she has placed in a newspaper. He lives on a lonely island in the Indian Ocean (Reunion, once a French colony) and the woman, played by Catherine Deneuve, is from Paris, supposedly. At first the two exchange a series of letters, so as to "get to know one another," and eventually the woman agrees to travel to Reunion to meet the man. He happens to be a wealthy tobacco farmer, and the owner of a cigarette factory, which makes him moderately wealthy. Upon meeting each other in person they appear somewhat uncomfortable with the circumstances, as if niether quite expected what they find. The woman seems to remember little from her correspondance. When sharing his experiences with business partners the man gets less-than-lukewarm responses from his close associates. Despite these peculiar circumstances and an absolute abscence of anything near intimacy the plans for a wedding go forward. Shortly afterward the woman's behavior becomes gradually more bizarre, until finally she disappears altogether, having taken the man's fortune with her. The man's pusuit for this woman, now his wife, follows. We learn he is pursuing more than just a thief; he pursues her as love-object as well, ending up in shady dance halls along the French Riviera, where she is working. Eventually the truth bocomes known, a kind of love between the two develops, and Catherine Deneuve's character as a victim just as much as a victimizer becomes known. All in all I do not think it is one of her best performances. Where the film succeeds at all is in it's underlying message for persons seeking fulfilling relationships by means of classified "personals." In this respect I think Truffaut was ahead of his time."