MISSISSIPPI MERMAID (French : La sirène du Mississipi) is a 1969
French romantic drama film directed by
François Truffaut and starring
Catherine Deneuve and
* 1 Plot * 2 Cast
* 3 Production
* 3.1 Filming locations
* 4 Reception
* 4.1 Box Office * 4.2 Critical
* 5 References * 6 External links
Louis Mahé (
Louis and Julie quickly marry, and his adoration of his new bride makes him overlook inconsistencies with what she wrote in her letters. He gives Julie access to his bank accounts and prints her image on the cigarette packs his company manufactures. After receiving an angry letter from Julie's sister, Berthe Roussel (Nelly Borgeaud), demanding to know the whereabouts of Julie, Louis returns home to find that Julie is gone, and that she has absconded with nearly 28 million francs, all but emptying his bank accounts. Soon after, Julie's sister Berthe arrives and informs him that the woman he married was not Julie and that she saw her sister board the Mississipi. They hire a private detective, Comolli, to track down the impostor and bring her to justice.
On a flight to
Louis and Marion buy a red convertible and drive to Aix-en-Provence
where they move into a house together and spend their days traveling
the region and making love. Their happiness is interrupted, however,
by Comolli, who has arrived in Aix on the trail of the impostor. After
trying in vain to bribe the detective to drop the case, Louis shoots
him dead and buries him in the wine cellar of the house. Louis and
Marion flee to
They head into the mountains where they find an isolated cabin in which to hide. They hope to cross over into Switzerland, but Marion is restless and unhappy with their life on the run. Louis becomes increasingly ill, and after nearly collapsing, he suspects that Marion has been putting rat poison in his coffee. He attempts to escape, but Marion brings him back to the cabin. As she pours him another glass of coffee, he reveals his knowledge of her plan, accepts his fate with no regrets, and expresses his overwhelming love for her. Ashamed at her actions, Marion knocks the glass from Louis' hand and vows to make amends. She acknowledges that no woman deserves to be loved like this, but she assures him that she loves him and that they can still go away together. Crying in his arms, Marion tells him, "I'm learning what love is, Louis. It's painful." After Louis regains his strength, they leave the cabin behind them in a snow storm and head off together toward the border.
The film was the 16th most popular movie at the French box office in 1969.
In his review in The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote that the film "defies easy definition and blithely triumphs over what initially appears to be structural schizophrenia." Canby noted the performances of Belmondo, Deneuve, and Bouquet, which were "played with marvelous style." Canby concluded:
In Mississippi Mermaid, as in all of Truffaut's films, love leads only to an uncertain future that, at best, may contain some joy along with the inevitable misery. Truffaut's special talent, however, is for communicating a sense of the value of that joy.
In his review in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999, film critic Edward Guthmann praised the film, writing:
Truffaut tells his story with terrific dispatch, as if he was thrilled by its possibilities and couldn't wait to share his enthusiasm ... the result is a cool combo of film noir , star vehicle and picaresque romance. It's vintage Truffaut, and a great way to get acquainted or reacquainted with one of cinema's true masters.
The film, however, had many detractors. Dennis Schwartz, for example, wrote:
This perverse love story just doesn't fly. The two leads play unsympathetic characters and instead of getting into their character's heads they both play it as a game. It comes off as a disturbing film that seems pointless and has questionable entertainment value. It's one of the few misfires from the talented Truffaut, even with the restored 13 minutes missing from its American release that supposedly makes the film more lucid.
On the review aggregator web site Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 85% positive rating from top film critics based on 13 reviews, and a 71% positive audience rating based on 2,387 user ratings.
* ^ Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film
Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 282
* ^ http://www.jpbox-office.com/fichfilm.php?id=9033
* ^ Box Office information for film at Box Office Story
* ^ "Mississippi Mermaid". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 16
* ^ A B "Locations for Mississippi Mermaid". Internet Movie
Database. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
* ^ "La Sirène du Mississippi". J.P.'s Box-Office. Retrieved 16
* ^ Allen, Don. Finally Truffaut. New York: Beaufort Books. 1985.
ISBN 0-8253-0335-4 .
* Baecque, Antoine de; Toubiana, Serge (1999). Truffaut: A Biography. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-375-40089-6 . * Bergan, Ronald, ed. (2008). François Truffaut: Interviews. Oxford: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-934110-13-3 . * Holmes, Diana; Ingram, Robert, eds. (1998). François Truffaut (French Film Directors). Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-4553-0 . * Insdorf, Annette (1995). François Truffaut. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47808-3 .