O Dinheiro (1983), de Robert Bresson, é um filme que me atormenta há uns dois anos. Prova disso é que se eu tivesse de listar tudo o que eu vi no mesmo período por ordem de preferência ele certamente encabeçaria a relação. No ano passado, quando em viagem pela Europa, comprei no Georges Pompidou em Paris um livro intitulado Robert Bresson: Passion for Films, de Tony Pipolo - uma análise esmiuçada filme a filme da longa carreira do diretor. De tempos em tempos consulto-o para aprender mais sobre o grande mestre francês e aprofundar meu entendimento da sua arte.
O trecho abaixo foi extraído do capítulo que aborda O Dinheiro. Optei por preservar a versão original do texto em inglês.
Um breve resumo do enredo: inspirado num conto do grande escritor russo Liev Tolstói, O Dinheiro é a última obra do mestre Robert Bresson (1901-1999). No filme um jovem rapaz decide usar uma nota falsa de 500 francos, dando início a uma sequência de acontecimentos surpreendentes. Aviso: não se deixe levar pela simplicidade da sinopse, é apenas o ponto de partida para uma experiência inesquecível.
The Aesthetics of Exchange
Money is the more or less temporary disappearance of difference; it is the reduction of the random to quantifiable system.
- R.A.Shoaf, Dante, Chaucer, and the Currency of the World: Money, Images, and Reference in Late Medieval Poetry.
By Tony Pipolo
L' Argent (o nome original do filme em francês) is driven by the idea of a theo-rethoric, a concept rooted in medieval culture. The stress on the particular nature of exchange that operates in the film, rooted in false transactions, confirms that money, the "visible god", as one character calls it, and the deleterious effects it has on human relations, has assumed the place in Western culture once occupied by the moral and religious principles grounded in belief in the invisible God.
This theme might seem obvious, yet Bresson's embodiment of it in aesthetic terms is not. If money has the power to reduce all relations and displace all other values, then money underwrites and determines all relationships between individuals an society. As Shoaf suggests, in the Middle Ages Christianity and its teachings formed the basis of social structures, determining how people should look upon each other and treat each other as equals, at least in the eyes of God. In such a system individual behavior within a community is directed by a moral-religious standard, whether adhered to or not, so that to treat someone not in accordance with this rule was to violate God's and man's law. As such values became increasingly irrelevant and as the structure of human relations no longer depended on a higher spiritual standard, the notion of the dignity of the individual, always tenuously sustained, disappears. In consequence, all exchanges in a godless society are affected, from the simplest transaction between merchant and buyer to the bonds between lovers.
It is my contention that the first three-quarters of L'Argent depicts this state of affairs while its last quarter is an urgent plea against it. Bresson gives us a picture of contemporary society ruled by money and the devaluation of life and human exchange that it has brought about. He presents this not only as a theme that slowly emerges but through the framing and editing of the film, in which all relations extend and mirror the commercial exchanges as its core, perpetuating that falseness which such transactions both mask and permit. It is worth noting that the filmic exchange essential to Bresson's cinema is of course a determinant element of all cinema, its communal language, so to speak. But montage, the instrument of this exchange, can be used both poetically and falselly: as a means of fruitful investigation of internal and external reality on the one hand, or to sell cheap sentiment and manufactured products on the other hand. It is precisely this potencial for corruption that Bresson's insistence on a rigorously moral, accountable cinema aims to correct. Perhaps then, to the list of the elements of exchange in the Middle Ages subject to narcissistic or instrumental falsification that Shoaf illuminates - money, language and faith - we should add the invention of the cinema.