MONTREAL – The latest film by internationally recognized Quebec director Denys Arcand is about money, how it’s omnipresent, guides people’s choices, and like humans, is capable of doing good things and bad.
Arcand once again made a movie highly critical of society, but “The Fall of the American Empire” is also filled with hope.
The director, who won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2004 for “The Barbarian Invasions,” said Tuesday his latest feature was inspired by a 2010 shooting in a Montreal clothing store owned by a gangster, which left two people dead.
But Arcand told reporters in Montreal Tuesday his newest production was also guided by offshore tax havens and the difficult lives of the homeless.
“I’m always rooting for the bad guys,” he said. “Except in this story, the bad guy is a very good guy.
“This is a man who is charitable, he’s a volunteer in homeless shelters, so he’s the nicest person in the universe and yet he steals some money.”
The main character is Pierre-Paul Dube — played by Alexandre Landry — a young man with a doctorate in philosophy, who is lonely and socially awkward.
One day on the job delivering parcels, Dube witnesses an armed robbery that turns bad, during which two people are killed.
He finds two heavy bags filled with money and has to choose whether or not he keeps the cash.
The rest of the story follows the money and the people who come into contact with it.
“You’re always rooting for (Dube),” Arcand said. “You want him to get away and the saving grace is that eventually, some of this money will help him make a decent living, but you know he’s going to give half of it away, so it’s sort of a justification.”
The movie hits theatres June 28.