Mississippi Mermaid (1969)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Romantic Mystery  |   Run Time - 123 min.  |   Countries - France , Italy   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Tom Wiener

Though it features the most attractive screen couple François Truffaut ever worked with and a love-conquers-all story, Mississippi Mermaid is also one of the darker films in the Truffaut canon. Louis (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a tough businessman with the soul of a romantic, while Marion (Catherine Deneuve) is a hard-bitten realist who's living from one scam to another. Louis' belief in love offers Marion a safe refuge, but the two also know that they can live together only by trying to outrun her sordid past. "Before I met you," Louis tells her, "I thought life was simple, but now I know it's not." This declaration occurs even before Louis is forced to kill a man to protect their freedom. Like Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou, which also featured Belmondo, Truffaut's film forces the viewer to root for a couple on the lam, a staple of the film noirs that Truffaut and Godard cut their filmgoing teeth on as teenagers. Truffaut's film, shot in glorious wide-screen color in beautiful locations, doesn't look like a noir, but when Louis admits to his business partner, "I can't say I'm happy with her, but I know that I'm unable to live without her," you know that he's got it bad and that ain't good.