Robert Bresson’s mesmerizing final film, based on the Leo Tolstoy short story, won him Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, and details the tragic chain of events following the passing of a forged banknote by two school-boys. When the note is transferred to the unwitting Yvon, the young man not only loses his job, but becomes trapped in a disastrous spiral of theft, imprisonment and murder. Made when Bresson was 80, and considered to be the last masterpiece of his remarkable 40-year career, L’argent is shot in Bresson’s influential minimalist style and explores his signature themes of moral conflict, guilt, grace and redemption with extraordinary force and power. Following his groundbreaking early films Au hazard Balthazar and Mouchette, this is a fitting coda to a brilliant cinematic career. –Umbrella Entertainment
Often described as a “painter” of films, French director Robert Bresson was one of cinema’s greatest anomalies. He directed only 13 films over the course of 40 years, but these films were in a category all their own, minimalist works that tended towards radical (and sometimes controversial) reinterpretations of such classical sources as Diderot, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy. An expert manipulator of narrative incident, Bresson focused on seemingly incidental details of the stories he told and used amateur actors (whom he called ‘models’) lacking any trace of theatricality, creating searching meditations on the quality of transcendence, spirituality, and alienation. Of the artistic influences inherent in his work – perhaps most apparent in his belief that the cinema is a fusion of music and painting, not the theatre and photography – Bresson once said “Art is not a luxury, but a vital necessity.”
The year of Bresson’s birth has often been subject to debate; his biographer, Philippe… read more
"I'll be a good guy when I'm rich." A lot of opening and closing of doors. Overall I much prefer Tolstoy's story to this. Boring framing, formal editing, dry action, direct dialogue and stale sound. I like all of those things, but not in the same film. I admire this for being so bold, and for showing as little as possible, but I can't say I enjoy it as a movie on the whole. Reminds me of Wes Anderson in a weird way. "Why do you kill? One kills for a reason."
Money as the god of a capitalist society consumed by materialism. An older brother of Costa's 'Ossos', Bresson's last film is a minimalistic essay that goes deep down into the core of cinema. The fragmentation of the image works here in a different level, where hands are always trying to reach something - money, letters, redemption.
A look at the second, revised edition of James Quandt’s crucial anthology, Robert Bresson.
The complete retrospective will carry on touring North America through May.
Introducing a new series of essays on the “tightly-packed excess” of Robert Bresson.
A look at the best posters for the films of Robert Bresson, to coincide with the Film Forum retrospective.
The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson is the first complete retrospective in North America in 14 years.
L’Argent is a simple tale of a complex problem, it’s a cinematic parable meant to evoke a discussion, and to question the actions played out in the film. Bresson’s final film has a note of bitterness… read review