Morlock Elloi on Sun, 4 Aug 2019 02:04:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> intelligence is no advantage, it's a handicap

As US political film is mostly dead (© by Miracle Max), what's left is perhaps worth mentioning.

[machine translated from ]

The fabulous world of capitalism
03rd August 2019
Rüdiger Suchsland

The latest film by Canadian Denys Arcand about the demise of the American Empire

Nobody can tell you how much of it is in circulation, we are talking about billions, if not trillions "- even this dialogue sentence is a fable, because actually one would have to speak of trillions. The world's cash sum alone is a two-digit billiard number. In any case, the main actor of this film is the money. There are quite a few of them, but quite a few really have enough.

Everything is about money

Everything revolves around money, it is at the center of the action. The main human protagonist is called Pierre-Paul. He is a young and highly intelligent man, but at the same time a kind of urban neurotics alien to life, as Woody Allen could not paint more precisely and happily.

He works for a low-wage parcel courier in Montreal, Canada, and in his free time reads philosophers. His girlfriend, Linda, is a bank clerk. He gives her long lectures during a joint date in a mixture of despair and intellectual arrogance:

"The great writers were all stupid as straw." Dostoyevsky has shifted his wife's furs, he was addicted to gambling, he was sure to win, he was blind to the laws of probability, Tolstoy forbade his servants to be vaccinated, and Louis Ferdinand Celine fled from France and got lost in the SS - a complete idiot Hemingway saw himself as a boxer - what a great genius! "

Justified inquiry: "If you are so smart, why do not you run a bank or work in the university?"

"I am too intelligent, intelligence is no advantage"

Pierre-Paul's answer: "I'm too intelligent, intelligence is no advantage, it's a handicap," he says, quite without vanity, but with very sober analytical power. After all, he has a doctorate. Pierre-Paul's ability to grasp the depths of this world in its complexity provides legitimate depression.

Someday everything will change. Life breaks down with power over Pierre-Paul's existence, so that he can no longer escape from him. Now his theories about the stupidity of the wise will either be confirmed or he will refute them. Because, by chance, he witnesses a bank robbery that ends so bloody that at the end of it a handful of corpses and two huge bags full of banknotes lie on the street.

Before the police arrive, Pierre-Pauls stuffs the bags in his van.

But what should he do with the money? Especially since all the gangsters of Quebec and of course the police are behind the bags.

The disenfranchised and insulted are finally defending themselves

Together with the escort girl Aspasia and the clever ex-rocker Sylvain (Rémy Girard), the random millionaire forms an outsider gang of the marginalized - driven by the Stoic Marc Aurel and his principle of Amor fati, the love of destiny.

With them, Pierre-Paul also gets an insight into the less visible world of money laundering.

It is used, for example, by politicians who transfer legal money directly to Bermuda because they can not afford the media to jump on it. Or from noble prostitutes. Anyone who pays them basically donates to a charity.

The new film by French-Canadian director Denys Arcand continues the film's critique of the materialism of contemporary society that has shaped Arcand's previous films: "The Fall of the American Empire" (1986) and "The Invasion of the Barbarians" (2003).

His new work is a comedy and a comic thriller and thus quite old-fashioned - more than a Woody Allen movie, it's reminiscent of a Peter Sellers comedy like "The Pinky Panter" by Blake Edwards. The original title of the film is "The Fall of the American Empire".

The basic idea is convincing: Arcand wants to explain the world and uses for it a political-philosophical gangster film. Money is not a mere fetish and an excuse to show beautiful men beautiful things, at work, kissing, shooting and driving, so it has a deeper (social) meaning.

The disenfranchised and insulted are finally defending themselves. Films such as Bertold Viertel's The Adventures of a Ten-mark Certificate (1926), Max Ophüls' "Comedy of the Money" or Robert Bresson's "L'Argent" ("The Money") are the inspiration for this.

As a director, Arcand does not always have his complicated story under control. The mood fluctuates sharply between a harsh, sometimes brutal thriller, a bitter social drama and a light romance. The dialogues, which initially seem a bit sluggish, but become more playful and witty with increasing film duration.

Arcand connects with all the deeper meaning, namely a critique of high finance, of everyday social corruption and political conditions in the West: "Just as pathetic are the politicians: George Bush, Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi - they are all losers Donald Trump!" - "63 million Americans have chosen him." - "Of course, idiots worship idiots."

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