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L'Argent
     

L'Argent

Director: Robert Bresson, Christian Patey, Sylvie van den Elsen, Michel Briguet

Cast: Robert Bresson, Christian Patey, Sylvie van den Elsen, Michel Briguet

 
Robert Bresson's last film, L'Argent is essentially about the ways in which money corrupts the human spirit, and begins with a shot of an ATM machine dispensing cash, an immediate indication that Bresson, though by then an old master, was still entirely in touch with modern civilization and its many mechanisms. Very loosely based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, the

Overview

Robert Bresson's last film, L'Argent is essentially about the ways in which money corrupts the human spirit, and begins with a shot of an ATM machine dispensing cash, an immediate indication that Bresson, though by then an old master, was still entirely in touch with modern civilization and its many mechanisms. Very loosely based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, the film's unrelenting narrative follows the path of a forged 500-franc note, from two schoolboys through a series of fraudulent transactions until, at length, it winds up in the hands of Yvon Targe (Christian Patey), a young worker who spends it at a café, not knowing that it is a forged note. Arrested for passing counterfeit money, Yvon loses his job, turns to crime, and gets arrested again. This time, Yvon goes to prison, and while he is in jail, his daughter dies. Released, Yvon takes to drifting aimlessly through the city, until he finds, at last, an elderly woman who seems to take pity on the lost soul and takes him in, with terrifying consequences. As with all of Bresson's films, L'Argent is superbly photographed, edited with razor-sharp precision, and enacted by a group of nonprofessionals who have been instructed to drain their movements of all emotion. It is the money that Bresson is interested in here, and the lengths to which people will go to obtain it. Bresson's Catholicism is readily apparent in the film, which is nevertheless perhaps the most fatalistic of Bresson's late works, with the implicit message that some harm simply can't be undone, or atoned for. In the film he made several years before L'Argent, Le Diable Probablement (1977), Bresson's fatalism was even more pronounced; authorities feared that the film essentially endorsed teenage suicide, and various attempts were made to suppress the film. L'Argent presents a world that is only superficially less grim, in which even kindness is often repaid with a blow to the head. Compelling, brilliant, and absolutely memorable, L'Argent is one of the key works in Bresson's canon, and absolutely essential viewing for anyone even remotely interested in the history of the cinema.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Wheeler Winston Dixon
Robert Bresson's last film, L'Argent is essentially about the ways in which money corrupts the human spirit, and begins with a shot of an ATM machine dispensing cash, an immediate indication that Bresson, though by then an old master, was still entirely in touch with modern civilization and its many mechanisms. Very loosely based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, the film's unrelenting narrative follows the path of a forged 500-franc note, from two schoolboys through a series of fraudulent transactions until, at length, it winds up in the hands of Yvon Targe (Christian Patey), a young worker who spends it at a café, not knowing that it is a forged note. Arrested for passing counterfeit money, Yvon loses his job, turns to crime, and gets arrested again. This time, Yvon goes to prison, and while he is in jail, his daughter dies. Released, Yvon takes to drifting aimlessly through the city, until he finds, at last, an elderly woman who seems to take pity on the lost soul and takes him in, with terrifying consequences. As with all of Bresson's films, L'Argent is superbly photographed, edited with razor-sharp precision, and enacted by a group of nonprofessionals who have been instructed to drain their movements of all emotion. It is the money that Bresson is interested in here, and the lengths to which people will go to obtain it. Bresson's Catholicism is readily apparent in the film, which is nevertheless perhaps the most fatalistic of Bresson's late works, with the implicit message that some harm simply can't be undone, or atoned for. In the film he made several years before L'Argent, Le Diable Probablement (1977), Bresson's fatalism was even more pronounced; authorities feared that the film essentially endorsed teenage suicide, and various attempts were made to suppress the film. L'Argent presents a world that is only superficially less grim, in which even kindness is often repaid with a blow to the head. Compelling, brilliant, and absolutely memorable, L'Argent is one of the key works in Bresson's canon, and absolutely essential viewing for anyone even remotely interested in the history of the cinema.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/24/2005
UPC:
0717119436544
Original Release:
1983
Rating:
NR
Source:
New Yorker Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:21:00

Special Features

Audio commentary by Kent Jones (Assoc. Dir. of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center, NY); Writer Marguerite Duras on director Robert Bresson; Interviews with Bresson (Cannes Film Festival 1983: TF1; TSR); Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christian Patey Yvon Targe
Sylvie van den Elsen Old Woman
Michel Briguet The Woman's Father
Caroline Lang Elise Target
Vincent Risterucci Lucien
Beatrice Tabourin Woman Photographer
Didier Baussy Male Photographer
Marc Ernest Fourneau Norbert
Bruno Lapeyre Martial
Jeanne Aptekman Yvette
Alain Aptekman Actor
Andre Cler Norbert's Father
Claude Cler Norbert's Mother

Technical Credits
Robert Bresson Director,Screenwriter
Leo Tolstoy Source Author
Pasqualino De Santis Cinematographer
Monique Dury Costumes/Costume Designer
Antoine Gannage Executive Producer
Pierre Guffroy Art Director,Production Designer
Jean-Marc Henchoz Producer
Emmanuel Machuel Cinematographer
Patricia Moraz Associate Producer
Jean-Francois Naudon Editor
Thi Loan Nguyen Makeup
Olivier Péray Asst. Director
Jean-Louis Ughetto Sound/Sound Designer
Luc Yersin Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits [:04]
2. Forged Notes [1:38]
3. Wrongfully Accused [4:39]
4. Case Dismissed [4:49]
5. Deny Everything [6:34]
6. A Proposition [6:50]
7. The Hearing [4:27]
8. The Letter [12:36]
9. Overdose [5:38]
10. Discharged [10:21]
11. Nothing But a Slave [9:01]
12. Crime and Destruction [9:46]

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