L'Argent (1983) - full transcript

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...


Inspired by Tolstoy's
The Counterfeir Bill

What is it?

It's the first of the month.

I need to pay back
someone at school too.

My friend's parents
give them a lot more.

Norbert, leave me now, please.


What's wrong?

Dad won't give me an advance.

I have to pay Gontran back.

I can't help you today.

Martial, is that you?
I need help. I'm coming over.

Forget that.


What do you think?


It's fake.

Not bad.

- Take it.
- What for?

They're easy to pass off.
Don't worry. I'll go with you.

You really think so?

If you've got a second...

The body is so beautiful.

Let's go.

- Where?
- I know where.

We'd like a nice frame,
not too expensive.

May we see the one
in the window?

You like it?
- Yes.

Then buy it.

No student discount?

You must be joking.
It's already a bargain.

You paying?

Worried it's fake?

Can you see the dark markings?

I think so.

No question about it.

Besides, your father gave it to you.
- No, he didn't.

Sure he did.

You really have nothing smaller?

No, I'm sorry.

If you don't want it,
we'll go somewhere else.

Thank you, ma'am.

You fool!


They looked honest.

I've told you a dozen times:
Paris is full of these.

I refused one just yesterday.
You were there.

But you accepted two
the other day.

I'll pass them on.


- Here.
- Thanks.

This one's no good.

What about this one?

No good either.

This one?

Then I'll take them back
where I got them and get others.

No, I'm keeping them.

What gives you the right?

You're one of those crooks
spreading counterfeit bills.

Do I know this man?
I'll ask my assistant.

You recognize me?

I gave you the invoice.
This one here.

Here's the copy.

Forgive us for bothering you,

Let's go.

They're crazy.

This matter isn't over yet.

Think back.
Maybe you were mistaken.

How could I have been?

Something has to be done.

Like what?

Go find out.

The bills
were clearly counterfeit.

We'll pay the restaurant,
and they'll probably drop the charge.

As for the photo shop,

your boss has to see
your name cleared. It's only right.

Go ahead.

I've never seen this man
in the shop.

And outside the shop?

Neither inside
nor outside the shop.

Do you have
anything more to add?

Nothing, Your Honor.

I accepted this case, Your Honor,

in outrage at the despicable way
my client was cheated.

Yvon Targe...

I dismiss this case
and hold you liable for costs,

but the other party
has graciously waived them.

I urge you
to show more caution

before accusing
decent people again

and to be grateful
for the leniency shown you today.

What's wrong?

I couldn't go back
on what I'd said.

How could I let
two kids fool me?

That's what I can't stomach.

Lucien was terrific.

Buy yourself
that nice suit you want.

What can perjury get you
if you're caught?

Nothing. Don't worry.

I see.

If you explained,
I'm sure they'd take you back.

I won't go crawling
to them like a dog.

I passed by yesterday.
The prices were different.

- Really?
- I'm sure of it.

The owner's out.
I'll find out for you tomorrow.

Never mind.
I'll take it anyway.

- Don't bother.
- That's all right.

I assume you won't deny it
and that this isn't the first time.

No, but I thought dishonest people
had an understanding.

I won't press charges.
Believe me, Lucien...

it saddens me
to ask you to leave.

I'll leave, sir,
and I'll be sad to go.

You said he was a good guy.

I'll be a good guy when I'm rich.

- Look.
- The key to the safe.

And the shop.
Perfect copies.

The principal?

He's out, but I'm the chaplain.
I can relay a message.

I don't know the boy's name,
but you must know him.

Let's set aside the wedding at Cana
and discuss these counterfeit bills.

If one of you is guilty,
which I find hard to believe,

there's nothing worse
than feigning innocence.

It's better not to hide.
Confess and repent.

What does Christian think?



I don't know.



Not a word to your father.
The principal will certainly tell him.

Deny everything.
Stand your ground. Understand?

Yes, Mother.

Then it's understood

about my son?

I promise
not to mention his name.

Let me make up for the bother
this ridiculous matter has caused.

- No.
- I insist.

I don't want you going out.

This is absurd.

I can't loan you money,
but I have a proposal for you.

Stop between these two streets,

turn the car around,

and wait there.

- That's all?
- That's all.

You don't like me asking questions,
but I have a right to worry.

If he was hurt,
he'd be in the hospital.

Can't you tell me anything?

He's in prison.

You probably won't be allowed
to visit or write him before the trial.

All rise.

This court is in session.

Bring in the accused.

The court will now
deliver its decision.

We find you guilty as charged

by a majority of eight.

As for whether circumstances
mitigate in your favor,

we determine that they do.

In view of our decision,

and in view of Articles 379, 381,
and 59-60 of the Penal Code,

this court,
after due deliberation,

sentences Yvon Targe
to three years in prison

and orders him to pay costs
or serve a minimum additional term.

You now have five days
to appeal this ruling.

Take the prisoner away.

This court is adjourned.

Targe, to the visiting room.

That's all you have to say?

Say something.

Remember, Yvon:

We parted
without ever having fought.

When I get out,
I'll work as hard as I can.

The three of us will start over.

Where are you going?
Come back!


Don't hang around here.

- Did it work?
- No, but I have the card and code.

I saw it clearly: 3876.

But if I leave those two strips there,
they'll be onto us,

and it won't work ever again,
in any machine.

“...in the evening
she was suffocating.

The doctor came during the night.

They decided to operate here
instead of at the hospital.

It was too late.

Our little Yvette died of diphtheria
on the 10th at 4:00 p.m.

That's what I wanted to tell you,
but I couldn't say the words.

I'll stop here.
I'm crying too much to write.”

We fear death
because we love life.

I hoped to save the business, but
competition's opened across the street.

We've been limping along
ever since the robbery.

You know who robbed us?

Lucien, our old assistant.


He was a crook.

He lied so casually in court.


It seems he's rich now
and gives money to the poor.

Incredible amounts.
At least that's what I hear.

“You played a nasty trick on me
with those counterfeit bills.

I played an even
nastier one on Yvon.

But I forgive you. Accept this check
from your former assistant.”




Meat for cigarettes.

What are they all staring at?

Lay off him!

His letters to his wife
are being returned.

That's not true.

We're worried.

Another woman
who can't live without a man.

And some hanky-panky.

They'll all the same.

Do you know who stole her?

I wouldn't advise that.

Is he worked up?

No, he's calm.

In here,
a man who's never killed

can be more dangerous
than a serial killer.

You grabbed the skimmer.
Then what did you do?

You think I meant to kill the guard?

Yes. What's your version?

It's on that paper.

You raised the skimmer
above his head.

If another guard hadn't stepped in,
you'd have smashed his skull.

No, sir.

Solitary confinement, 40 days.

“We won't meet again.

Yvon, I've decided
to begin a new life.”


What time is it?

6:00 on the dot.

Wednesday or Thursday?

Stay calm. I'll be back.

Take this.


Don't mind me. I always pray
for the ones who kill themselves.

How are you feeling, Yvon?

You should have known
you'd be caught.

I trusted to luck.

The money you stole -

Without bloodshed, Your Honor.

Was it out of idealism,
to redistribute it?

I'm a generous man.

The court is aware
of your opinions,

and of your weakness
for fancy suits.

Do you plead guilty
to fraud and theft?

Given the circumstances

of my so-called thefts,
and in accord with new ideas...

Just answer our questions.

...that say there are no rules anymore,

I hoped to be acquitted,

or, if sentenced,
to escape and continue.

I fear your words may turn
the judges' minds against you.

Justice may be against you,

but it's your birthright
to be like other men.

Ever since
you've become self-aware

and seen how absurdly
the world works

and the impossibility
of it ever changing,

what have they told you?

“Obey .

Stay out
of what doesn't concern you.

Wait. Everyone
will be happy soon.”

Well, I'm not waiting around
for universal happiness,

which, believe me,
will be boring as hell.

I want to be happy now,
in my own way.

O money, God incarnate,

what wouldn't we do for you?

Show me your legs.

It's mostly
a weakness in my knees.

It's just the Valium. It'll pass.

Is Yvon in there?

Is that you?

A guy named Lucien
says to meet him at mass.

Don't go.

I'll get you out of here.

I'm serious. I know a way.

The room where they store
the burlap sacks.

I have a plan.

I'll take care of you
to make up for what I did.

I swear to God
on anything you want.

I'd kill you
before I'd leave with you.

Neither of us is a killer,

probably the only ones here
with no one on their conscience.

You have me on your conscience,

and now you'll pay for it.

It's him - Lucien.

Of course.

He bragged openly
about tearing his cell apart.

We all knew
when he'd carry out his plan.

His time isn't over.

They'll take him to rot
in higher-security prisons.

We'll never see him again.
- I will.

Yvon, one takes revenge
on those higher up.

Why stoop
to crushing that louse?

You've already been avenged
without doing a thing.

Someone fond of you
protects you from afar.

A relative or friend.

I have no relatives, no friends...

and no wife.

“We won't meet again.
Yvon, I've decided to begin a new life.”

Never mind.
Just toe the line.

You get out soon.
I want to see you in good shape.

Stop it.

You won't smash the door,
only your fist.

I wouldn't let it
humiliate me like that.

Couldn't you rebel
some simpler way?

You're a real pain.

Sit down.

I'm hungry,
but I can go without.

Why did you kill?

One kills for a reason.

It gave me pleasure.

I didn't take much,
and I already spent it all.

I remember every detail.

He fell splayed out by the door.

She tried to grab the knife.

Their appearance made me sick.

- You didn't go back to revive them?
- I'm not a doctor.

You'll be forgiven.

If I were God, if it were up to me,
I'd forgive everyone.

Don't worry.

My sister and her husband,
the boy's parents.

They use the other door
and sleep on that side of the house.

I usually make lunch for them too.

My other sister
doesn't come home every night.

Her room's on the top floor.

You're good people.

I know you won't turn me in.

Father, let me by.

- I'll tell him to leave.
- Let me handle it.

Go away, please.
- You don't know him.

You fool!

You deserve -

When my husband died,
he began drinking

and lost his pupils.

It's my fault.
I couldn't control him.

Before that, he was good.
He respected his family.

Where are you going?

I'll be back.

And they strike you.

You do all the work yourself.
You slave away for them.

Why not just throw yourself
in the river?

Do you expect a miracle?

I expect nothing.

Where's the money?

I killed the hotel owners
to rob them,

and I just killed a whole family.