mandag 28. april 2014

"I Want My Money Back!"


Year: 1983
Country: France
Language: French
Director: Robert Bresson
Starring: Christian Patey, Vincent Risterucci, Caroline Lang, Sylvie Van den Elsen
Cannes: Best Director, Golden Palm

Robert Bresson's L'Argent is actually the first film I will consider as a soulless one. It's the story about a gas man named Yvon who's being payed in counterfeit money, but when he uses it, it is him that's being convicted and not the actual criminal. Yvon goes to jail and looses his job, and is by that thrown into the world of crime.

I'm perfectly aware that Bresson is widely known for his use of non-professional actors, or "models" as he calls them. I had no issue with that in his other films. But this time it's way too obviously shown. The actor's eyes, specially the amateur that plays Yvon is in wrong place in a way that makes him look like he's blind. There's no realistic tendencies in any of the performances. It's like they have been given instructions not to act, nor act naturally. And the ridiculous on-the-nose dialogue makes it look obviously staged and mechanically shallow.

Even though I'm not found of the use of full length narration, which Bresson is famous for, I now regret criticizing Bresson for his use of it, because without it every characters in his movies becomes lifeless zombies that I don't really care about (in the case of Baltazar, I accept the lack of narration because donkeys can't talk). Zombies needs narration to really make me sympathize with him, because one cannot relay on their facial expressions, which are none.

I have always wondered what a soulless movie looks like. Well, here I have the answer, unfortunately. This was a total bore, and had I watched it in the theaters I would certainly asked for my "L'argent" back. The reason I'm not giving it zero stars is because of the unpredictable ending (which I don't wanna reveal) that gave me at least one thrill during the whole bore fest. Thumbs down.

Grade: D+

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