L'Argent ★★★

Had more a mixed-feelings response to this Bresson as I found the visual compositions and pacing/editing (I usually find his elliptical approach clumsy) to be phenomenal while his screenplay and its' examination to be a paltry offering of contemplation in causation and correlation. Bresson's trajectory of the counterfeited franc shuffles along with relative reason until it is launched into the nonsensical and preposterous with little to no rationale being provided outside of an exceptionally simplistic line of influence - bad thing causes another bad thing while a separate, indirect bad thing happens which leads to transforming one into an approximation of evil incarnate. It is odd that someone such as Bresson, a director renowned for his perfectionist ways, of stripping down actions and emotions in a search for purity and/or truth, for someone that apparently puts an excess of thought into his filmmaking would neglect thoughtfulness in the development of his film's central conceit.

While Bresson's through-line of the effect money has on individuals deteriorates into a ridiculously simplistic end he has inadvertently (a guess on my part) created a far more interesting facet within this narrative which would be the role women play in these descents into criminality that these various men partake in. It is interesting to note to in all instances a woman plays the role as a catalyst to the criminality, almost to the point that the money itself is not responsible wholesale, but the woman's action (and inaction) are what lead these men to (re)action. It is almost as if posits women as a safety net, as the last defense against the lure of crime and self-destruction. The son's last-ditch request for funds is rejected by his mother which leads to the counterfeit 500 franc that initiates everything. The shop owner who, himself, has accepted several counterfeits previously now feels forced to rectify his current situation because his wife made the same mistake he did. And, in Yvon's case, his full-on crossover into indiscriminate homicide does not happen until his wife finally and definitely informs him that she has moved on; before then there existed a modicum of hop, diminished from its normal levels after the death of his daughter, but once his wife exits his life completely all hope is distinguished, replaced with nothing but murderous thoughts speciously. And, of course, the all-forgiving woman at the end yet Bresson doesn't seem all that interested in expounding upon these women, they seem to exist as facilitators of plot while the main focus is set upon the devious men.

It is at once overly simplistic and muddled, even in its simplicity.

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