MISSISSIPPI MERMAID
LA SIRÈNE DU MISSISSIPI
1969, The Film Desk, 123 min, France/Italy, Dir: François Truffaut

One of Francois Truffaut’s least-known films stars Jean-Paul Belmondo as a wealthy industrialist living on a remote island in the Indian Ocean who summons a mail-order bride and gets the lovely, double-crossing Catherine Deneuve. When she empties his bank account and disappears, Belmondo follows her back to Europe and straight into a whirlpool of murder and deceit. Based on the Cornell Woolrich novel Waltz Into Darkness, the film is dedicated to Truffaut’s idol, Jean Renoir. “This visually elegant yet frankly emotional romance is about why the best reply to ‘I love you’ might finally be ‘I believe you,’ as it is here." – Janet Maslin, The New York Times.


LÉON MORIN, PRIEST
1961, Rialto Pictures, 117 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

In a French Alps village during WWII, widowed mother Barny (Emmanuelle Riva) walks into a confessional, but not as a believer; a communist and atheist, she is more concerned about the welfare of her daughter during the occupation. The priest she speaks to, Léon Morin (Jean-Paul Belmondo, wonderfully cast against type), proves exceptionally insightful, and as they begin to have philosophical conversations outside of church, she feels a growing attraction to the young man. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Henri Decaë, this is among the most thoughtful examinations of faith and its challenges ever made.


LE DOULOS
THE FINGERMAN
1962, Rialto Pictures, 108 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Director Jean-Pierre Melville met actor Jean-Paul Belmondo during Melville's brief cameo in Godard’s BREATHLESS - here, he gives Belmondo one of his best roles, that of a two-faced informer caught between the police and his “old pal,” played by doom-faced Serge Reggiani. “It was only when LE DOULOS was finished and Belmondo saw himself on the screen that he realized, with great astonishment, ‘Christ! The stoolie is me!’” - Melville.


Syndicate content