Philosopher Pierre-Paul is witness to a (failed) robbery. On the floor are two bodies and two bags filled with millions of dollars. His dilemma: remain empty-handed or run off with the money?
Denys Arcand, Canada 2018
Language: French, English, subtitles: English
‘The really smart will never be rich or successful. Intelligence is a handicap in a world that is corrupt to the core,’ thus the graduated philosopher complains to his girlfriend. He is condemned to a life as delivery man.
Not much later, fate proves him wrong. After a failed robbery, a fortune almost literally falls into his lap: two sports bags filled with banknotes. Nobody is watching; without thinking he takes them away.
The Fall of the American Empire is the Canadian director Denys Arcand’s third film investigating modern civilization, following Le déclin de l’empire Américain (1986) and Oscar winner Les invasions barbares (2004). While Pierre-Paul tries to launder his capital, Arcand dissects with sardonic pleasure our ridiculous relationship with money. We live in an immoral world, he argues, where no genuine difference exists between a bank robber and a banker. Whoever has the opportunity to line their pockets will as a rule not refrain from doing so; whoever has no money doesn’t count. The Fall of the American Empire shows that this society’s priorities are completely wrong (source: Volkskrant).
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