Blu-ray Review: L’argent

They say money makes the world go round and it’s an undeniable truth that most of our lives are dependent on it, in one way or another. There are the basics such as paying the mortgage/rent, covering the bills and buying food, but we all like our little luxuries. A holiday abroad, a new car or that expensive top reduced in the sales. However, for many people these are simply out of reach, living hand to mouth from week to week. In l’argent, one small action causes a whole host of trouble.

When Norbert’s (Marc Ernest Fourneau) parents won’t help with a debt to a schoolmate, he turns to a friend who gives him a counterfeit banknote. When he uses it to buy a photo frame, a shop assistant (Lucien – Vincent Risterucci) decides to pass it on. The recipient is an unlucky delivery driver (Yvon – Christian Patey) who is arrested when he tries to use it to pay in a restaurant. This sparks a chain of events.

L’argent is a thrillingly precise drama which scrutinises the consequences of one rash action. Robert Bresson’s damning indictment of capitalism is relentless in its critique, taking the tragic Lucien down through the circles of Hell. Adapted from a novella by Leo Tolstoy, his spin on the tale is coldly structured, meshing fiction and non-fiction techniques, with an almost mechanical execution. L’argent is an immaculately constructed film which raises a number of questions.   


  • Restored from the original negative and presented in High Definition
  • Style, Anti-style and Influence (2022, 22 mins): an on-stage discussion between Geoff Andrew, Jonathan Hourigan and Nasreen Munni Kabir on the films of Robert Bresson. Filmed at BFI Southbank
  • Looking at L’Argent (2022, 9 mins): Jonathan Hourigan, former assistant to Robert Bresson, introduces and examines two clips from L’Argent
  • The Root of All Evil (2022, 19 mins): writer Michael Brooke considers Bresson’s late masterpiece in this newly commissioned video essay
  • Jonathan Hourigan on L’Argent (2007, 27 mins, audio only): the film scholar – who assisted in the making of L’Argent – speaks about the production
  • Value For Money (1970, 22 mins) David Blest’s dreamlike, experimental short film, featuring Quentin Crisp, visualises coin-operated connections between money and religion
  • Theatrical trailer
  • **FIRST PRESSING ONLY** Illustrated booklet with new essays by Dr Martin Hall and Jonathan Hourigan, an original review and full film credits

L’argent is released on Blu-ray by the BFI on 8 August.

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