L’Argent

France 1983. Dir: Robert Bresson. 84 min. DCP

“One of the greatest of last films; Bresson slammed the door on his way out.”
RICHARD BRODY, THE NEW YORKER

NEW RESTORATION | The awe-inspiring farewell film of Robert Bresson, one of cinema’s immortals, freely adopts a Tolstoy novella (“The Forged Coupon”) and transposes it to contemporary France. L’Argent (“Money”) charts the circulation of a counterfeit 500-franc bill and the contagion of evil it spreads as it passes from hand to hand. When an innocent man unwittingly uses it to pay for a meal, the consequences prove disastrous. As in all Bresson’s major works, the real drama here is internal, spiritual, metaphysical; it derives not from plot or character but emanates from a rigorous austerity and intensity, from a meticulous accumulation of detail. In Bresson, objects and gestures miraculously transform into manifestations of the transcendent! L’Argent is one of Bresson’s best and most beautiful films — and one of his most harrowing indictments of modernity’s spiritual bankruptcy. It shared the Best Director prize at Cannes in 1983 with Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia.

 

REVIEWS

“Bresson once again makes us realize how little most films make of the resources of cinema. A masterpiece.”

Chicago Reader | full review