Synopses & Reviews
The career of Robert Bresson (b. 1907) is one of the richest in the history of cinema, but also one of the most enigmatic. For some commentators, Bresson is a severe moralist who's almost medieval in his concern for the darker aspects of Catholic theology. For others, he's best seen as a stylist whose work has consistently anticipated cinematic trends. Just as Bresson's 1959 Pickpocket
was remodelled by Paul Schrader as American Gigolo
(1980), so L'Argent
(1983) is a study of spontaneous murder and a meditation on evil that has a striking kinship with contemporary vigilante and serial killer films.
Kent Jones disputes some of the received wisdom about Bresson's work as it's epitomized by L'Argent: the work can't simply be reduced to its austere, pessimistic, or religious elements. By exploring the many dimensions of L'Argent, Jones finds other elements: beauty, compassion, an overriding concern with the meaningful depiction of experience. L'Argent is the culminating work of one of the select group of directors able "to push the cinema, through the force of their own genius, onto a new plain."
Made when the director was almost 80, Robert Bresson's L'Argent (1983) is a study of murder and motive adapted from Tolstoy. Harrowing and urgent, it is the culminating statement of one of cinema's most extraordinary careers.
Made when the director was almost 80, Robert Bresson's "L'Argent" (1983) is a study of murder and motive adapted from Tolstoy. The author compares "L'Argent" to Bresson's other work and places the film at the crossroads of recent cinema trends - those of the vigilante and serial killer films.
About the Author
Kent Jones has written widely on the cinema, notably for Film Comment. He has been a guest programmer and jury-member for film festivals around the world, and is programer at The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.