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L'Argent (1983)

L'argent (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 18 May 1983 (France)
A forged 500-franc note is passed from person to person until carelessness leads to tragedy.



, (short story "Faux billet") (as Tolstoï)

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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Patey ... Yvon Targe
Vincent Risterucci ... Lucien
Caroline Lang ... Elise
Sylvie Van den Elsen ... Grey Haired Woman
Michel Briguet ... Grey Haired Woman's Father
Béatrice Tabourin ... La photographe
Didier Baussy ... Le photographe
Marc Ernest Fourneau ... Norbert
Bruno Lapeyre ... Martial
François-Marie Banier
Alain Aptekman
Jeanne Aptekman ... Yvette
Dominique Mullier
Jacques Behr
Gilles Durieux


A forged 500-franc note is cynically passed from person to person and shop to shop, until it falls into the hands of a genuine innocent who doesn't see it for what it is - which will have devastating consequences on his life, causing him to turn to crime and murder... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

18 May 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

L'Argent  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last film directed by Robert Bresson. See more »


Yvon Targe: Wait. Everyone will be happy soon. I won't wait around for that. Believe me, it will bore us stupid. I want happiness now, on my terms.
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Featured in Life Itself (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

money is the root of evil
18 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

"L'Argent" is Robert Bresson's very last film and a piece of work that went through a lot of financial problems to see the light of day. It was dismissed by many producers before being finally taken in hand by the Ministry of the Arts. At that time, Jack Lang was the ministry and his daughter served as a "model" for Bresson in the film where she is Yvette, Yvon's wife.

Sourced from a short story by Léon Tolstoï, "l'Argent" is first the assessment of a downward spiral for the main hero of the film, Yvon. Because he was given a forged note, this domestic oil delivery man will be caught in a chain of unfortunate events which will see him jailed, losing his cute, little daughter and wife before turning into a murderer. Through his decay, all forms of dishonesty, cruelty, injustice will be stated with money at their core, particularly in the first half of the film. Money is used for rewarding cowardice (the photograph who rewards his employee Lucien for his false evidence), for buying people's silence (Norbert's mother who gives the photograph's wife money to compensate her) and more generally, money is a God that makes Yvon's fate take a tragic dimension and drives a cruel, unfair world.

Its depiction is a perfect opportunity for Bresson to let his sparse, cold, neutral cinematographic writing shine. The more the film goes on, the more these epithets prevail with an accumulation of close-ups of objects, audacious elliptical sequences, a tightened editing and deliberately bland models who recite their texts and don't "act" it. Bresson's minimalist approach of this tragic story and harsh society amounts to a limpid harmony that inevitably brings an unshakable emotion and it's important to note down the moment when Yvon is put up by the old lady. These sequences are like lulls in Yvon's grisly fate and it's impossible to remain indifferent to the old lady's dreary way of life or when she's offered a few hazelnuts by Yvon. There's even a glimmer of hope when she pronounces the words: "I would forgive to the rest of the world".

It's true that Bresson's highly elliptical, straightforward style will leave many viewers baffled as there is no psychology or action but if you're sensitive to his unspectacular directing, you will realize that he pushed his art to the extreme to better get the audience involved in Yvon's woes. You can watch it only once but it will forever stay in your mind.

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