Nada (1974) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This the the last of the Claude Chabrol collection with any significant nudity, so you'll probably be relieved to know that I won't be talking about him again for a while. To be fair, two of the films which I didn't write about, The Butcher (le Boucher) and This Man Must Die, (Que la bête meure) were actually quite good. They were both made in 1969, as was The Unfaithful Wife, the story which later became Unfaithful with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. That's quite amazing, when you think about it. Chabrol has 30 films with enough votes for an IMDB score, spanning more than 40 years of filmmaking, and three of his top six films were made in one year. Another of his top eight, La Rupture, was made just a few months later. He was on quite a roll there for about 18 months:

  1. (7.46) - Boucher, Le (1969)
  2. (7.33) - Une affaire de femmes (1988)
  3. (7.24) - Cérémonie, La (1995)
  4. (7.11) - Femme infidèle, La (1969)
  5. (6.96) - Cousins, Les (1959)
  6. (6.94) - Que la bête meure (1969)
  7. (6.74) - Enfer, L' (1994)
  8. (6.72) - Rupture, La (1970)

The ones in yellow are in the boxed Claude Chabrol collection, along with: Nada, Les Biches, Innocents with Dirty Hands, and Ten Days Wonder. (The last two feature English-speaking actors, Rod Steiger and Orson Welles, respectively, but neither film is any good.)

Nada is not like the others in the collection. It's not a personalized story of murder or revenge, but a political tale of international intrigue, comparable to a Volker Schloendorff or Costa-Gavras movie. A group of anarchists/terrorists capture the American ambassador to France and demand a ransom to finance their cause. The terrorists comprise brutes, drunks, cowards, and alleged idealists with no specific ideals. The police match the stupidity of the terrorists and add brutal over-reaction to the mix. Everyone bungles every possible move on both sides until every major character is dead except the higher-up politicos with "deniability".


Mariangela Melato shows her breasts in a brief, dark sex scene.

An anonymous prostitute shows everything in a brothel scene, in which the ambassador is kidnapped.

DVD info from Amazon. This film only.

DVD info from Amazon. The Claude Chabrol box set. See details in the main commentary.

I don't recommend the set. There are few features. Most of the films are not anamorphically enhanced, and none of them have been fully remastered and cleaned up.

If the movie has any point, which I doubt, it seems to be that we are all conniving, corrupt, brutal, and cynical fools, irrespective of the politics we embrace. The film has some of the elements of a political thriller, and some elements of a black satire ala Dr Strangelove, but is not especially good at either, and is completely lacking in nuances.

  • some very naked and very beautiful anonymous woman

  • Mariangela Melato, who is neither very beautiful nor very naked, but was a fairly big star. She played the Madonna part in the original version of Swept Away.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is a C. It is a watchable political thriller with a satirical undercurrent, but it is unexceptional and the characters are one dimensional.

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