La Truite (The Trout) (1982) Poster

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princehal14 January 2005
Doesn't this movie have any defenders? Even Losey's biographers don't seem to be able to find a kind word for it. What I see is the work of a serene master who has left behind the trappings of drama and psychology to contemplate a world of pure cinema. Unfortunately the late masterworks of great directors are often misunderstood (see Griffith's "The Struggle", Lang's "1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse", Zinnemann's "Five Days One Summer") - maybe because there isn't a critical middle ground between workaday reviewers who are unable to see beyond story and acting and academic critics who are busy applying their pet theories. In any case, it's available on a beautiful DVD and ripe for (re)discovery.
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A Deceptive Movie by Joseph Losey
claudio_carvalho10 April 2013
In a small coastal town, the youngster Frédérique (Isabelle Huppert) works in a trout-farm. She marries the gay Galuchat (Jacques Spiesser) and they lure the upper-class businessmen Rambert (Jean-Pierre Cassel) and Saint-Genis (Daniel Olbrychski) in the bowling, pretending that they do not play well and winning a large amount in a game, despite the protest of Rambert's wife Lou (Jeanne Moreau).

Saint-Genis invites Frédérique to travel with him in a business trip to Japan, where he has a meeting scheduled with the Japanese businessman Daigo Hamada (Isao Yamagata) and she leaves Galuchat and has a brief love affair with Saint-Genis. She returns when she is informed that her husband is in the hospital. Then Rambert tries to convince Frédérique to be his lover, with tragic consequences.

"La Truite" is a deceptive movie by Joseph Losey with a messy story that wastes a cast with the names of Jeanne Moreau, Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Pierre Cassel. I finished watching this pointless movie and I honestly did not understand what the point is. Further, what three old bourgeois are doing in a bowling? My vote is three.

Title (Brazil): "Uma Estranha Mulher" ("A Strange Woman")
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Modernist Fairy Tale
jemenfoutisme17 August 2005
This is the Cinderella story updated to include a dysfunctional Prince Charming who is unable to satisfy his Cinderella so she has to get her jollies by seducing and outsmarting a pair of evil princes (whom she meets bowling...a wonderful surreal touch that is so improbable it actually is quite amusing...think Big Lebowski here)...the only actor out of place is Jeanne Moreau who is simply wasted in a secondary role. I will admit that I am a rabid Huppert fan and would watch her in anything...there is simply no one else like her around and she rescues this film from complete inanity by the sheer weirdness of her beautiful being.
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woman baits men to advance
maurice_yacowar10 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Joseph Losey's penultimate feature, the under-rated La Truite (1982), revisits the themes of his 1963 films, The Servant and The Damned. Personal relationships are viewed as power struggles and the bourgeoisie as an elegant, affluent moral and emotional wasteland. Centering on a struggling, suppressed woman hearkens back to Losey's 1973 adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House. The titular trout points two ways. It obviously refers to the men whom the coastal French trout-farmer Frederique (Isabelle Huppert) baits with sexual tease and chastely exploits. But the title is not Les truites but La Truite. That points to Frederique, who swims upstream, against the currents of class prejudice and male power, to transcend her unpromising roots. For more see
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Losey's Low Point - Very Fishy!!
dwingrove10 October 2003
La Truite opens to the unedifying sight of a glum-faced Isabelle Huppert squeezing sperm out of a dead fish. No prizes, then, for guessing this is a drama of sexual dysfunction. Huppert has a homosexual husband (Jacques Spiesser) who is unable to consummate their union. (Nor is he able to act, incidentally, but in a film this bad that is no grounds for divorce.)

Naive souls may imagine that a severe lack of sex explains the scowl of dour misery that Huppert tries to pass off as a performance. Not a bit of it! Her character made a vow in her teens to leech everything she could out of men - without ever once gratifying their sexual desires. So when two mega-rich businessmen (Daniel Olbrychski and Jean-Pierre Cassel) just happen to wander into her local bowling alley and find her simply irresistible...

Sorry, but I don't know which is more improbable. Members of the style-conscious haute bourgeoisie going bowling, or any person - male or female, gay or straight - becoming obsessed with Isabelle Huppert. If Losey had only shot this film with Brigitte Bardot back in the 60s (as he longed to do) then we might just about buy into its ludicrous plot. Given the sour-faced Huppert and her gaping charisma deficit, he was a fool even to try.

La Truite is a textbook illustration of the melodramatic bathos and aesthetic self-abuse that Losey could fall into when he didn't have Harold Pinter (or some other ace script-writer) to keep him in line. Only a hypnotic Jeanne Moreau (as Cassel's aging and ill-treated wife) does anything that resembles acting. Spare a thought, though, for the stunning Afro-Caribbean dancer Lisette Malidor - wasted here in a minor role. In any sane universe, she could have played Huppert's part.
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A misunderstood film
chrislamb-816-98026712 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
La Truite is a very interesting film. Every character is defective in some way, and Frederique's frigidity and inability to commit to any sexual relationships does not seem so abnormal when one considers the flaws in the characters of the men who surround her, each of whom (with the possible exception of the Japanese patriarch) seems to have a void which they believe can be filled by Frederique. Frederique is able to exploit the weaknesses in these men, manipulating each of them in turn, but she herself is deeply flawed and lacks a moral compass. To me, it is a study in the destructive consequences of a personality disorder. Everyone Frederique touches will lose a part of themselves, and everyone struggles, unsuccessfully, to repair the impact of her primitive and nihilistic projection into them. The void in her own soul becomes a reflected emptiness in others, leading to great distress. Like the fish at the beginning of the film, Frederique milks them all. At the end of the film, even though she is financially successful, she still feels nothing. She has fulfilled her stated ambition of seeing the world, but has failed to get away from herself. I thought it was an excellent portrait of a woman missing an essential component of her personality.
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Moody Late Losey
l_rawjalaurence17 February 2014
In LA TRUITE Isabelle Huppert plays a cold-blooded trout of a woman, Frédérique, supported by Jeanne Moreau as a wife whose husband, Rambert (Jean-Pierre Cassel), throws himself (repeatedly) at Frédérique. Frédérique, who is married to a gay husband (Jacques Spiesser) agrees to accompany Saint-Genis (Daniel Olbrychski) to Tokyo, as much to annoy Rambert as to torment Saint-Genis.

The movie has many luscious sequences in Tokyo and France, and Huppert acts most of the other protagonists off the screen in a difficult role. There are flashbacks of her learning how her father and his friends used women, which increases her resolve not to be abused in similar fashion. She comes across as outwardly unsympathetic, but we understand her motives in a world where rich people treat those around them with the same lack of concern as they do their possessions. Rambert is even less sympathetic and less capable of love than Frédérique.

In this slow-moving narrative style definitely assumes more significance than content, but the film does have a particularly satisfactory ending.
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An Illusive Rainbow
gilcostello23 May 2018
Joseph Losey established himself as a gifted filmmaker in the late '40s with The Boy with Green Hair, my favorite film from childhood. The thing about genuine artists is they can't kick the truth. Regardless how wayward they become in their obsessive lifestyles or imaginations, their deepest obsession remains with the truth. Losey would eventually make in the early '60s what was up to that point the best film exploration of the sado-masochistic impulse, The Servant, with the great film actor, Dirk Bogarde, and during that same period the effects of child sacrifice in The Damned. He would later explore the very dark dead-end of multiple sexual partners as a way of life in his film adaptation of Mozart's Don Giovanni (1979). But his great masterpiece, in my view, is his penultimate film, La Truite (The Trout, 1985). He must have experienced great satisfaction in knowing that every critic missed the central theme and all the deeper nuances of what he was conveying in the film, most thinking that it was simply a comic film about a cold-hearted bitch, played perfectly by the ever-surprising Isabelle Huppert. I will not dwell on the complexity of what this film is about, only to mention that it involves a precocious child, Frederique, who discovers much too early in life the sado-masochistic matrix of the world and begins her trek on finding ways to adapt to it while not allowing a core innocence to be destroyed by it, to keep an upper-hand in distance, a postmodern Fanny Price who is elevated not by dominance but by a detachment that, in its severance from God, borders on being the ultimate act of cruelty, indifference. She keeps in tow a hyper-sensitive, self-destructive husband who is gay and who, in discovering the dead-ends of sado-masochistic delight, is devastated every second of every moment by looking long and hard into the reality of love lost in the only territory he knows, the valley of the void where he commits to drinking himself to death. The heroine played by Ms. Huppert has only one ally, an elderly Japanese man who has achieved a similar detachment in his life, and they become spiritual friends. This film is not about a bitch, but about "misdirected transcendency" (Girard) in a world that is severed from God.
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Is there any point to all this?!
MartinHafer16 November 2010
The review on IMDb by David Melville sums up very well some of the problems with this film. So much of the plot just doesn't make sense nor does the casting of Isabelle Huppert in such a demanding role. Melville was right--a vixen like Bardot in her prime could have made it work but Huppert was not up to it. She wasn't believable as a woman this alluring and selfish. But there is so much more wrong with this movie Melville didn't get to--poorly written and often grossly under-developed characters--and in the process wasting talent like Jeanne Moreau, Alexis Smith and her husband Craig Stevens. On top of all that, the story was unappealing, disjoint and almost impossible to follow at times--partly because of the odd way the film bounces around from the present to the past and partly because the film is so dull it's hard to keep up with it.

Despite me hating the film, I have enjoyed some of Isabelle Huppert's movies and French movies are my favorite international films. It's just with so many wonderful French films, I don't advise you to waste your time on this one--it's so much easier to find a film worthy of your time.
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Some You Win, Some You Losey
writers_reign30 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
They're gonna love this at the BFI and on the campuses where feminists manque earnestly 'teach' film to students mostly merely trying to get a ticket and become filmmakers themselves. It's something of a pseuds paradise assembling components of every real film lover's nightmare and them mixing half-heartedly. Although I can't agree with the viewer who posted here a ridiculous and clearly uninformed criticism of Isabelle Huppert, who, despite a questionable choice of roles (but she DOES have the right to choose for herself) is one of the finest actresses working today both on screen and on stage, I do agree that this folly leaves a lot to be desired, like pleasure, entertainment, ANYthing.
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