Monday, October 09, 2006

Night of the Living French

So, went back to college on Friday and started year two of my screenwriting MA. Our morning module is From Script to Screen, an academic investigation of cinema rather than the more vocational, craft-based modules we've had to date. To kick things off, our tutor screened Robert Bresson's L'Argent - not an easy film to which for those who prefer classical story structure and sympathetic characters. The cast acts throughout as dehumanised, expressionless voids - it's like a zombie movie, but nobody's brain gets eaten. A quick search on the internet found the following observations about it:
In the impersonal detachment of contemporary society, money serves as the surrogate for human emotion - love, guilt, shame, devotion, trust - are frivolously expressed through its casual exchange. But money also exihibits a biological behavior in its virulence - the forged banknotes, in essence, contaminate everyone who comes into contact with them. Inevitably, the pursuit of money serves as a symbolic means for the destruction of the soul. As the counterfeit note serves as an imitation of money, so too does money, in turn, represent an artificiality - a false soul.

While we were watching the film, I started noting down observations about what was shown [and what wasn't] on screen. Here's those raw notes in full:

Car noise, traffic
Blank expressions
Infant only animation
One crime leads to many
Cause and effect
Very limited camera movement
Always with doors opening and closing
Keys, locks
Hand fetish
Signal from Fred: This is absurd!
Positively industrial
Harsh noise; clinical; diagramatic
Did they loop this whole film?
Silence before the gunshot
Driver doesn't react to gunshots
Showing us one thing but listening to another during shootout
Daigloue short, clipped, no long speeches
Stoic to the point of lockjay
Doorways as framing devices
People almost always completely walk of out shot
Joe 90 hands
"We fear death because we love life."
"Your love of good suits."
Absurdity of life, impossibility of change
L'Argent = money
Subtitling snafu: toe the line
"Couldn't you rebel more simply?"
Night of the Living French
Source music only, no incidental music
"Where's the money?"

No comments: