It’s Nouvelle Vague time – I’ll start Claude Chabrol’s filmography with one of his lesser known films, “Nada” [Eng. Title: The Nada Gang], a crime thriller centred around a fictitious anarchist group who called themselves N.A.D.A.
This isn’t your typical Chabrol – I was just lucky to have found it in one of my excellent box-sets. It is also not my favourite Chabrol, but I loved it nevertheless for its wit and satire. The fact that it also stars the classy Mariangela Melato, one of my favourite Italian actresses came as a pleasant surprise.
Claude Chabrol, one of the pioneers of the French New Wave cinema movement, is broadly compared to Hitchcock for his early suspense thrillers. But where he differs is by also giving social commentaries through his films, sometimes even taking precedence over the plot. He was a prolific filmmaker, and inevitably went through several phases of mediocrity and brilliance. But there’s no denying the fact that whenever you think of legendary actresses like Stéphane Audran, Romy Schneider, and Isabelle Huppert, it is likely to be for one of their films directed by Claude Chabrol.
Nada Gang members, led by academic Marcel kidnap the American ambassador for a ransom, but things take a different turn when the home ministry and an over-zealous superintendent decide to make an example out of them. Chabrol gives us a cynical insight into the way politics work, and also how even idealists compromise when the need arises. This is not exactly a great film, but certainly enjoyable as an action-packed crime drama. Besides, we also have some accidental nudity from Mariangela Melato who plays gang member Veronique, and a wholesome nude scene from pretty Sandra Julien who makes an appearance as a prostitute.