Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Fabio Testi, Lou Castel, Mariangela Melato, Michel Aumont, Michel Duchaussoy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Praised by critics and audiences alike, Nada represents a shift in style for Claude Chabrol, from the provincial study of intense relationships to the violent political thriller. "Nada" named after a gang of Spanish anarc... more »
Chabrol's worst - and dumbest - film by far
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 11/15/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In a time when the constitution and principals the United States were founded on are trampled underfoot by an administration desperate to distract attention from its own internal problems, where the Geneva Convention, human rights and foreign sovereignty are unapologetically discarded, a thriller about the state taking illegal action that far exceeds that of the terrorists they are countering might seem appropriate. However, if you want to see a film about that, try Ed Zwick's flawed THE SIEGE instead, because NADA is one of the most infantile 'political' thrillers ever made. Like Robert Altman's PRET-A-PORTER, the director has taken on a subject he seems completely ignorant of, and imprints his ignorance on almost every frame.
His terrorists are a wildly unconvincing group of stereotypes - Fabio Testi dresses as if he were auditioning for MAD Magazine's 'Spy vs. Spy' strip, Michel Duchaussoy behaves like an absurd KIDS IN THE HALL send up of the sociology professor from Hell, Mariangela Melato a cardboard middle-class revolutionary wannabe - who behave at every unconvincing plot turn as if they want to be caught. The corrupt authorities fare a little better, but are still painted in unconvincingly broad strokes.
It is possible to make a smart film about dumb people (cf ELECTION), but this is a moronic film about dumb people made by people who think they're intellectuals who are talking down to the masses. In truth, were one to recast Testi, Duchaussoy and Melato with Jim Varney, Johnny Knoxville and Shannon Tweed, the result would actually be to raise the intellectual content of the film, not lower it.
Chabrol might just have got away with his characters and events if he took them seriously, but his staging is so inept (the fight scenes would embarrass a kindergarten class while the shooting of the kidnapping is more inept than the kidnapping itself) and his inability to get his cast to perform with at least some approximation of recognisable human behaviour so blatant that it is actually embarrassing to watch (special mention must be made here of Duchaussoy: so very good in Chabrol's QUE LA BETE MUERE, he is stunningly bad here in a performance that is so far over the top it's back again).
Chabrol has made some fine films, but you would never guess it from this amateurish mess - a newcomer to his work would never want to see another of his films after this, which would be a great shame. Utter drivel, and a sad waste of a potentially interesting material. One star out of ten - and that's being very generous.
The DVD is the cut reissue version (27 minutes shorter), although this is no great loss, so it's hard to feel aggrieved by the fact. Ironically, as the worst title in Pathfinder's Chabrol collection, this boasts one of the best transfers: still not perfect, but a lot better than the poor standards conversions from PAL to NTSC on the likes of LA FEMME INFIDELE and LE BOUCHER - Chabrol films well worth seeing."
Excellent plot, thin characters
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 08/31/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most of Claude Chabrols films are about the bored bourgeoisie and their marital infidelities which inevitably lead to murder. Plot wise the stories sound like standard murder mysteries but Chabrol's main weapon "irony" is used in such an interesting way that he often seems to be challenging our conventional notions of just why people are so fond of cheating and just why it inevitably leads to murder. Nada is Chabrols only flirtation with the political thriller genre and Chabrols irony again is what singles this film out from any other in the genre. One of the members of the Nada gang is a university lecturer who is not so much a revoltionary as a social discontent, who is disgusted with the bourgeoisie conventions of his life. He is the most unlikely member of the Nada gang and the one Chabrol focuses on more than any other. The other members are your usual revolutionary suspects. Although one revolutionary immediately strikes you for his resemblance to Clint Eatwood, he even wears a poncho and cowboy hat. Chabrol is perhaps less interested in the political positions of his revolutionaries than he is with the reasons behind their social discontent. In his other films his discontents are married and infidelity and murder seem the only means of escape from the stifling nature of bourgoisie life so in this respect the film is a variation on Chabrols favorite themes but in Nada instead of turning to marital infidelities the bored bourgeoisie turn to revolution. In fact there are bourgeoisie on both sides of the law. The police chief and the politicians on the right are seen to be as bored with bourgeoisie life as are their counterparts on the left so it is another instance of Chabrols famous irony to have the ultimate battle be not so much about revolutionary politics but about bored bourgeoisie squaring off against each other to alleviate the tedium of their respective existences. The revolutionaries hatch a kidnapping plan in which they heist the America ambassador out of that most bourgeoisie of institutions, the brothel. From there things quickly escalate until the right and left square off like two armies at a farmhouse. Both sides seem to be engaged in a huge bit of folly and as the bodies pile up its obvious whatever intentions either side had have been lost sight of when the guns start blazing. Miraculously the lecturer and the Eastwood character escape but soon one is captured and used as bait to get to the other. Chabrol drives the political thriller to its conclusion with one last irony and thats that the Eastwood character unlike everyone else in the film actually does believe in something but its too little too late. In the end we are left with a political thriller and vision of humanity that will please the bored bourgeoisie anarchist in everyone. All of Chabrols films have the air of formal exercises and everything that happens has an air of inevtability to it that makes Chabrol seem to be a fatalist. What makes his best pictures memorable are his characters which seem to realize their lives are determined by forces they do not control and this realization as much as anything else leads them to act with abandon. Nada comes close, the ideas are there in the plot, but no one character really captures our interest and so the film is curiously lacking in that psychological dimension that makes Chabrols best films so compelling."
Excellent thriller, from the French master
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 08/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Claude Chabrol's 1974 Nada is in some ways a change of pace for the master of the corrupt bourgeois, yet in others is true to form. While the focus of the plot is the kidnapping of the American ambassador to France by disaffected French leftists and anarchists, the emphasis on their personal psychologies is as pointed as ever from the perspective of a film director who has made a career of juxtaposing the haves and the have-nots, those who sit back and bask in their wealth and those who have to resort to other means to attain it--usually criminal. Or those who just plain resent the wealthy and do something about it, even if the resenters don't become wealthy themselves.The action here is very well paced and the acting is exactly what it should be from a great cast including Fabio Testi and Mariangela Melato (from the great Lina Wertmuller film Swept Away). Rather than lampooning the police as he did in Innocents with Dirty Hands, Chabrol here presents them as brutal workers who do everything possible to get information. The kidnappers are all disaffected, but in different ways. One is a dedicated Marxist. One is a leftist-anarchist. One is essentially a professional radical mercenary. One is a complete anarchist prone to getting drunk. Chabrol delights in contrasting those who view activity as a luxury and those who know it is a duty--and the performance of that duty by the latter is often done with enough intensity to become violent, quite easily in fact. The Justice Minister, for example, sleeps in opulent surroundings and has a wife looking suspiciously like Marie Antoinette. Likewise the ambassador dallies in a brothel with a whore wearing flimsy garments. Meanwhile the cops and the kidnappers do the dirty work that forms the meat of the story.An interesting film by the great Claude Chabrol who does have his occasional slipups (Innocents with Dirty Hands, The Swindle, e.g.) but who in this film proves he can tell a tale that veers from his typical fare--and do it quite well indeed. Definitely recommended."
A good political French new wave kidnapping drama...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 05/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"NADA, a French terrorist group, kidnaps the American Ambassador to France as they want to put some pressure on the French conservative government. The Interior branch of French government is offended by the actions of the NADA fraction and want to find a quick solution to the problem. The solution leads to increasingly brutal conduct by the French police, which forces the NADA fraction toward more radical action. Chabrol directs a good political French new wave film that bluntly depicts how violence breeds violence as the audience is allowed to follow two sides of the story."