L’Argent

Drama |French with English subtitles| 83 minutes 

Info

Norbert, a student in Paris, is in debt to a classmate. He tries to borrow money from a friend by hocking his watch. Norbert’s friend gives him a counterfeit 500-franc note. Norbert then visits a shop, buys a picture frame, and gives the manager the counterfeit note. When the manager’s boss detects the note to be counterfeit he’s furious. He decides to use this note to pay Yvon, the man delivering heating oil. Yvon pays a restaurant bill with this note and is caught. A sympathetic judge gives him a suspended sentence on the condition Yvon makes restitution. Needing the money, Yvon agrees to be the getaway driver in a holdup. The holdup is botched  and Yvon is sentenced to three years in prison. His wife leaves him; his daughter dies from diphtheria. He fails in an attempt to commit suicide. When he is released from jail, he insanely goes on a murderous rampage. And it all started when he innocently accepted a forged note.

Cast
Christian Patey (Yvon) / Ernest Fourneau (Norbert)
Why Stream This Film?
Why Stream This Film? In an interview, Bresson stated that “this was the film that satisfied  me the most– at least it is the one where I found the most surprises when it was completed–things I had not expected.  Beginning with a counterfeit bill, an innocent man’s life is ruined, causing him to commit  heinous crimes. What was the cause of all this? Is it the insidious nature of greed and betrayal? See L’Argent  with others and you’ll have much to discuss when it’s over.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critic Consensus): 96%
  • Metacritic Score: 95
Accolades
  • Cannes Film Festival: Winner, Best Director (Robert Bresson); Nominated, Palm d’Or
  • National Society of Film Critics Awards: Winner, Best Director (Robert Bresson); Nominated, Best Film
  • Cahiers du Cinéma: Winner, Best Film
Its pleasures are the classic pleasures of the art film–niceties of technique, juxtapositions  of image and sound, a judiciousness in choosing what is shown, and what isn’t.
Paul Attanasio

Washington Post

Robert Bresson is still one of the most rigorous and talented film makers of the world. It’s evident with the appearance of this beautiful, astringent new film, L’Argent. The film would stand up to Marxist analysis, yet it’s anything but Marxist in outlook. It’s far too poetic–to interested in the mysteries of the spirit.
Vincent Canby

The New York Times

Bresson, working his sound track as assiduously as his visuals, once again makes us realize how little use most films make of the resources of the cinema. A masterpiece!
Dave Kehr

Chicago Reader

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