By Kent Jones
Made whilst the director used to be nearly eighty, Robert Bresson's ''L'Argent'' (1983) is a research of homicide and cause tailored from Tolstoy. the writer compares ''L'Argent'' to Bresson's different paintings and locations the movie on the crossroads of modern cinema developments - these of the vigilante and serial killer motion pictures.
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Extra resources for L'Argent (BFI Modern Classics)
But if it can be said that there is a gl'eatest sequence in Bresson, it may well be the final section of his final film. The entire film leads up to it, of course, but it's no disservice to Bresson to say that he nevel' filmed anything quite so penetrating, so psychologically acute, so disturbingly perched between gl'ace and damnation as the final twenty-thl'ee minutes of I',Argent. 71 72 8FI MOOERN CLASSICS The Ending The prison door swings open, and Yvon waJks out, his belongings in two canvas bags, one hanging over each shoulder.
How much time has passed before the following shot, ofYvon walking down the stairs ayer the body of one of his murder victims? In The unnamed woman at the heart 01 the film L'ARGENT it doesn't matter. He goes to a sink to wash his hands, and Bresson cuts to a close overhead angle as the clear water starts running red and then goes clear again. Yvon wraps up his bloody pants and carefully places them in his bag before snapping it shut, fastens his belt buckle, steps behind the counter, opens two drawers and empties them of their cash (again, in close-up).
Psychology may be the last stop on Bresson's aesthetic and moral itinerary, but he certain]y betrays a profound understanding of it here - there's a whole biograpby of a family woven into these brief scenes. \'Vhen Yvon tells the woman that she should up and ¡eave, that her family treats her horribly, she corrects bim: '1 can't reach him,' she says of her father, 'he started drinking wben l11Y husband died. Then he lost all his pupils. ' It's easy to hear the cries of 'enabler' and 'dysfunctional family', but Bresson gets so deep inside the mecbanics of the situation that such labels seem meaningless.