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TROUT, THE (Truite, La)(director/writer: Joseph Losey; screenwriters: Monique Lange/from the novel by Roger Vailland; cinematographer: Henri Alekan; editor: Marie Castro Vazquez; music: Richard Hartley; cast: Isabelle Huppert (Frédérique), Jean-Pierre Cassel (Rambert), Jeanne Moreau (Lou), Daniel Olbrychski (Saint-Genis), Jacques Spiesser (Galuchat), Isao Yamagata (Daigo Hamada), Jean-Paul Roussillon (Verjon), Lisette Malidor (Mariline), Roland Bertin (The Count), Alexis Smith (Gloria); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Yves Rousset-Rouard; RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video; 1982-France-in French with English subtitles)
“A bleak romantic comedy that chronicles the life of cold fish Isabelle Huppert.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Joseph Losey’s (“Accident”/”The Servant”) penultimate film is based on the novel by Roger Vailland. It’s co-written by Losey and Monique Lange. It’s a bleak romantic comedy that chronicles the life of cold fish Isabelle Huppert, who sports a T-shirt which has ‘Maybe’ in the front and on the back ‘Never.’ That should tell you all about the lady’s character.

Huppert plays Frédérique an attractive young redhead who, out of boredom and resentment that her womanizer father and friends molest young women in their hideaway chalet, leaves her father’s country trout farm to come to Paris. She’s marries a suicidal gay man, Galuchat (Jacques Spiesser). At a bowling alley she meets two businessmen, whom the economically struggling couple hustle in bowling. Invited to Tokyo by the younger, more free-spirited businessman Saint-Genis (Daniel Olbrychski), she deserts her hubby without any qualms to try her hand in the corporate game. In Tokyo she meets an aging American millionairess (Alexis Smith), who takes great joy telling her in a broken French that she had made love 33,000 times and then found bliss marrying a wealthy Japanese man. Frédérique soon begins an affair with Japanese tycoon Daigo Hamada (Isao Yamagata), the one Saint-Genis is visiting on business. Upon returning to Paris, she toys with Saint-Genis’s married businessman friend Rambert (Jean-Pierre Cassel), who is married to Lou (Jeanne Moreau) but goes crazy over Frédérique. She drives a wedge between Lou and her unethical hubby, and between Rambert and Saint-Genis. It seems Frédérique who is the film’s trout, nevertheless, has the teeth of a shark to fend off the many predators she attracts, as she willfully destroys Rambert’s marriage. Having Hamada back her Paris trout farm, run by her hubby, Frédérique says when asked how it feels to be on top: “It’s all the same to me.” Her cold personality is explained through intermittent flashbacks, where as a youth she joined a club of women who vowed “to get things out of men without giving them anything.”

Though Losey’s direction is assured the film remains remote and obscure due to the murky telling of the story. The unpleasant and amoral characters, all incapable of finding love, seemed vapid. Never mind that Huppert is a fine actress, who is interesting to watch. It’s also unfortunate that Moreau wasn’t asked to do more, as it seems the legendary actress was wasted in this movie.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”