A Thousand Billion Dollars (Mille Milliard de Dollars)
So I go on on French movies and even stays a bit longer with the great Henri Verneuil. After Fear Over The City, we'll talk today about A Thousand Billion Dollars (Mille Millard De Dollars), a French movie which story still stays very pertinent nowadays.
It’s the story of Paul Kerjan, a French reporter from the economical diary La Tribune. He has just divorced from his wife and tries to deal with it when an anonymous call changes his life, informing him about a scandal involving corporation leader Jacques Benoît-Lambert. According to the informer, Benoît-Lambert is given bribe from the huge multinational group G.T.I. in order to sell it an electronic components factory.
This story has still resonance today because it deals with globalization and its inherent alienation for human beings. Following Paul Kerjan in his inquiry, we discover that even nations are slowly being replaced by huge multinational corporations. In a scene taking place during a convention, we see that there is only one time for all workers, the new York hour. Each G.T.I. employee is in fact a G.T.I. citizen, even the big boss is. As he says it himself, his company will stands long after he is dead, like a country.
Paul Kerjan also discovers that the roots of this system are deeper than we thought. During World War II, G.T.I. already was above nations. Solding weapons to both sides, G.T.I. made amazing profits from the battles going on between nations. The deeper Paul Kerjan pushes his inquiry, the worst the situation appears. Kerjan finds out that these corporations have already taken over and do not anymore obey to any law, except the one of Money (with a capital M). They won't hesitate to send killers in order to eliminate anyone standing on their way; the suicide making up being more a way to save time (and money) than a real precaution toward Justice.
This is the quality of the movie. It’s a conspiracy movie in the line of masterpiece like Parallax View or Blow Out where no one can be trusted. But the main difference is that, finally, there is still hope in the hands of lower citizen. The salvation still can come; from the people. In the end, the thematic stays very close to Fear Over The City's one: the world is changing in a far more dangerous way than it used to be. Only this time, the evil is not human.
As I said, Henri Verneuil let us hope for a possible salvation from this nightmarish situation. People can still make the system colapse; but not one single individual. Kerjan alone can’t do much except being a witness. In order to make this count, he has to tell his story. This makes him turns his back to the practical individuality lauded by the system and look back for his family. Another interesting idea, still relevant today as well.
I can’t finish this text without speaking of Patrick Dewaere, a true French actor, who has gone too soon and delivered here an amazing performance. Rest In Peace Patrick, you will always be remembered