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Louis Mahe is a tobacco planter at Reunion Island. He is waiting for Julie Roussel to marry him. He only knows her by mail. The woman that comes does not like the picture he got, but he marries her anyway. Soon, she flees with Louis' money. She was not the real Julie Roussel but Marion. Louis tries to find her... Another Truffaut's film about passion.Written by
The original French title is spelled "La Sirène du Mississipi" (one P) in some sources, and "La Sirène du Mississippi" (two Ps) in other sources. See more »
When the disc Marion has recorded is run over in the street and shattered, she kneels to retrieve the pieces; at first her right knee is uppermost, but then suddenly her left knee is higher, as she stands. See more »
SPOILERS: In some versions of this film, the image of the comic strip in the newspaper that makes Belmondo's character realize his wife has been poisoning him has been removed. The probable reason is that the whole idea is a bit naive and absurd, although without this image it is impossible to explain how the man finds out that he has been poisoned. (As the comic strip in question involves Disney-related art of Snow White being offered the poisoned apple by the Witch, the removal of the cartoon in some versions is more likely due to issues involving Disney's copyright.) See more »
I am surprised that nobody has yet pointed out that the ending in the snow is an homage to Jean Renoir's "Grand Illusion." The film is dedicated at the beginning to Renoir.
Jean Renoir was the great humanist director. For him, all that matters is how we treat human beings. The same here for Truffaut. The film tells us that it does not matter if you're rich or poor, male or female, upholding the law or fighting it, the only thing that matters is love. This is a romantic film that has occasional touches of a good mystery/detective/noir film. The Hitchcock film that it most reminded me of was "Marnie". There, like here, it is hard to know if crime or patient love will win out in the end.
I did not care much for the New Wave style editing, which seemed out of sync with the dramatic story at times. The many shots of Belmondo driving kept reminding me of the beginning of "Breathless." The color seemed a bit dull and washed out.
The locations are lovely, but Truffaut seems to have only one thing on his mind, the relationship between the lead characters, Louis and Juli/Marion. The characters and the audience think they know each other, but the film keeps fooling them and us. We are constantly getting new information that makes us re-evaluate who they are and they are constantly surprising each other. For example, Louis has been telling Juli/Marion how much he loves her and how beautiful she is and then suddenly he gets upset and tells her how there are many of her kind - she is not really a woman or a girl, but a "chick". The term "chick" is far more demeaning here then the term "bitch" or "slut" could ever have been. He tells her that her cold attitude actually makes her ugly. Watching the scene, one thinks about how easily and naturally men can degrade women, even women they love.
The film is a bit long and occasionally meanders, but it is emotionally intense at many points along the way. It seems that nothing is happening and then suddenly there's a surprise that makes you think, "Oh my goodness, I didn't expect that." It may not be one of Truffaut's best films, but second-rate Truffaut is still better than 90% of other directors' best stuff.
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