Bresson’s final film is perhaps his most overt tract warning of the lures of money and materialism, questioning the concepts of conscience and corruption, and innocence and guilt in a society motivated by greed. Based on Tolstoy’s novella The Forged Coupon, it follows the disastrous consequences for a group of connected individuals when a forged 500 Franc note circulates amongst them, initially as a prank. Hapless deliveryman Yvon (Christian Patey) unwittingly attempts to use it in a restaurant where the forgery is discovered, leading to his imprisonment. His determination to exact revenge sets in motion a further chain of events that leads to a downbeat and uncompromising ending that serves as a fitting close to a remarkable body of work.
Screening as part of a full Robert Bresson retrospective in July 2019. A multi-film pass, 5 films for €45, is available directly from the IFI Box Office.