Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

L’Argent de poche

(Pocket Money, French, 1976)

The IMDb lists the English translation as Small Change, but the title on the DVD was Pocket Money, which looks, to my extremely small knowledge of French, to be the more literal translation. This movie didn’t quite work for me. It has no plot—not a problem in itself—but it didn’t deeply involve me in the lives of the characters, who are schoolchildren and their parents and teachers. We follow them for a brief time, and there are some nice moments, but it didn’t add up to much. At the end is a long polemic about the abuse, exploitation, and general neglect of children which I’m sure is heartfelt but just sort of sat there like a lump. The teacher, probably speaking for Truffaut considering that he wrote it, suggests that children be given the vote, so politicians would pay them more attention. Roger Ebert’s review, though loving (he worships Truffaut, and so do I, up to a point) makes a funny point about that. Truffaut thinks that if kids had the vote, the world would be a better and safer place. Roger points out they quite likely would vote for war because it looks like so much fun on television. Votes for children is a silly idea, which in a way undercuts Truffaut’s real and important points. Maybe it was the opening scene with the children running down all those wonderful flights of stairs … but I’m with Roger; I love this movie!