Sunday, May 24, 2009
L'Argent (1983, France, Robert Bresson)
"There is much to savor in The Late Film, a BAM series of movies made toward the close—or the climax—of their directors’ careers. Of all the works selected, none could be less autumnal than Robert Bresson’s L'ARGENT (1983), which screens on May 10. Adapted from a tale by Tolstoy, it is as swift and wintry as a sudden frost. As often with Bresson, the actors are mostly nonprofessionals, and they move through the series of terrible events like stoics and sleepwalkers, lacking the will to fight fate. A schoolboy pays for a picture frame with a forged note, which enters the social system as if it were a virus, and leads in the end to a feverish killing spree, in which not even the saintly are spared. Yet Bresson—who was eighty-two years old when the film came out, and clearly in no mood for mellowing—frames the acts of wickedness, both great and small, with a terrifying calm. Prepare to be haunted by his closeups of objects: a wallet, a ladle, a bowl of hot coffee, an axe. They might almost be guilty themselves."
Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, May 11, 2009
Available at Videomatica