group of left-wing extremists plan to kidnap the American
ambassador in a Paris brothel and hold him for ransom; the
more naive amongst them also hope that this will start a political
revolution. With the kidnapping a success the group start
to fall apart, with divisions appearing along sexual and political
lines. Meanwhile the police track them down with a cruel callousness
which extends to torture...
Nada, based on the novel by Jean-Patrick Macnchette,
starts like any other heist movie with the planning of the
job, gathering together appropriate personnel and resources.
Though, it is soon apparent that this film is more brutal
than your normal kidnapping film.
may accuse Chabrol of being many things but never a Gaullist,
he seems to revel in showing the government as inherently
corrupt in his films and Nada is no different. Political
interference with the police and the willingness to sacrifice
anyone for political ends run as a thread throughout this
film. Chabrol takes an almost existential delight in showing
how all the characters are undone by their choices, and in
most cases are able to accept responsibility, mediated by
their respective ideologies, for the outcome of their actions.
The exception to this is Andre Falcon who plays the minister
whose political power shields temporarily shield him from
Testi, who looks a lot like a young Jeremy Irons, plays Buenaventura
Diaz the leader of the NADA gang. He conveys a brooding intensity
necessary for the part of a political fanatic who is, through
personal necessity, willing to sacrifice his colleagues for
his own ends. In this way he and the minister are the same
and whilst they have opposing ideologies their methods are
not so different.
Although the premise of the film is serious Chabrol also uses
some nice touches to show the absurdities of both sides. The
kidnappers, having clubbed unconscious a naked prostitute,
pause long enough to cover her privates - as if her nudity,
which she had so freely displayed for the ambassador,
should in some way be more embarrassing just because she's
not awake. The police are also shown as brutal and ineffectual.
The final shootout makes the police look more like bunch of
sadistic kids, with the only voices of reason, on both sides,
being quickly dispatched in the carnage.
Rabier, the cinematographer, who had worked on a number of
projects with Chabrol, including the atmospheric Que
la Bete Meure, makes great use of overhead
shots, especially in the final helicopter sequence.
It will come as no surprise that the disc comes with no extras
other than chapter selection and English subtitles. As far
as the subtitles were concerned I had a hell of a job getting
them to work. They failed on two machines and would only work
on the computer intermittently. I don't know if this was a
fault of the review copy or a general encoding fault, but
it went a long was to spoiling an otherwise great film. The
print is fine but there are some signs of damage evident.
Sound is the usual stereo.
low mark reflects the problem with the subtitles and not the
film in general which like most Chabrol films is well worth
watching, let's hope they sort it out before release.