Wednesday, April 6, 2011

La banquière (1980)

This movie about a female banker in France in the 20's, which at that time was rare, is quite engaging and as Romy Schneider played the lead role, this is a must see.

The movie begins in black and white, in silent movie style, which I like. Emma Eckhert in early 20's has already had problems with the authority due to her homosexuality. She then marries Moïse and they are divorced, but still work together - she as his superior. She has a girlfriend, who lends her a lot of money. Emma Eckhert builds the Eckhert Bank and she first attracts attention when, with the help of a friend, she makes a lot of money by buying oil shares. People come to her, entrusts her with their money. Banks usually give 1 - 1,5% interest, but Emma gives 8%. Her biggest rival, Vannister, works together with the President to sabotage her. Emma is accused of fraud and they put her in a jail. Emma only wants one thing: to reimburse all her clients, in this way she also can proof that the accusation is absurd. After a political change, incl. a change of President, Emma is free; but she is shot to death in the middle of a speech, among her clients, in her efforts to reimburse them.

A strong scene which I cannot forget is when after her arrest, Emma is taken to her office, where the judge and the police search for proofs. There is none. Meanwhile, the bank is open and the clients are queuing for drawing her money. And what the judge does when he doesn't find any proof? He orders to close the cashiers. In this way, Emma cannot pay back her clients. She protests, but they take her out to the jail - where the guard, a nun, refuses to give her a table. Emma wants to be able to write to defend herself.

There are lots of well-known faces: Jean-Louis Trintignant who plays Vannister, young Daniel Auteuil plays this financier who works for Vannister, Marie-France Pisier as Emma's lover's wife, Claude Brasseur as the judge who ruthlessly investigates Emma's fraud case, and Jean-Claude Brialy as Emma's lawyer.

No comments: