Money Shots: The French Film, “L’Argent”

The plot of the 1983 Robert Bresson film, L’Argent (“Money”) is sometimes weak, and the same old Bressonian defects emerge as well, yet none of this renders the picture unwatchable or unmemorable.  Unlike, say, Mouchette, it is one of the Frenchman’s better efforts.

The plot, to use Vincent Canby’s description, is about “Yvon, a young truck driver framed by some bourgeois shopkeepers who identify him as the source of counterfeit notes.”  But Yvon is not the source; he is no counterfeiter, and he loses everything.  Thematically the film is about: when an ordinary person, after being abused, descends into horribly sinful crime; the deep corruption in society; and virtue and saintliness, however rare and offhanded.  Over and above, regardless of the evil that men have historically done with God, L’Argent implies it is certifiable in the modern world that men follow evil paths without God.

(In French with English subtitles)

Cover of "L' Argent"
Cover of L’ Argent

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