In filmmaker Shaun Andrews’ black-and-white short film Argent Liquide (Cash Flow), we get a look at the inner workings of an ATM. Monetary Leakage Technician Frederick Nessman Jr. (Julien Lévy) deposits an envelope of cash into the machine, and we watch, via different surveillance cameras and other footage, as the envelope travels underground where it is collected by an almost naked man clad only in bondage gear. He delivers the envelope, and others like it, to the desks of those who count the cash, all under the gaze of the whip-wielding, security camera monitoring Overseer (Chris Gobeil). After the cash is counted, it is shredded and liquified, where its true usage is revealed.
I love the look of the film; appropriately dingy considering the predominantly subterranean setting, the short takes the corporate and technological cleanliness of the everyday grind and shows the murky truth underneath that shine. It’s also interesting how the film scuffs up a personified and seemingly neverending loop of giving money to get money. Finally, the short is reminiscent of something Terry Gilliam would come up with, and specifically thoughts of The Crimson Permanent Assurance came to mind while I watched Argent Liquide (Cash Flow).
Is there more to be read into this film? I think so; my interpretation is definitely one of the more obvious takes you could run with, but it’s also the one I enjoyed the most. Money drives all, so why wouldn’t it eventually find its way into a form that is more easily absorbed, just to be fuel for more production. It’s a perpetual motion machine, run on slaves of differing status and setting, all in need of the sustenance that only money can provide.
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