11 October 2006 | Camera-Obscura
Cynical, minimalist Chabrol
THE NADA GANG (Claude Chabrol - France/Italy 1974).
With this excellent political thriller Claude Chabrol charted into more familiar genre territory. This time he made this cynical account about a small Franch group of post '68 terrorists kidnapping the American ambassador from a luxury Parisian brothel, secreting him away in an isolated farmhouse while they wait for an answer to their demands. But the police chief they're dealing with is even more violent than they are and doesn't care about getting back the hostage alive.
In hindsight this film has become a typical exponent of the - mostly left wing - underground activities in the '70s and 80's. In these modern times, when terrorism is almost exclusively associated with Islamic religiously motivated terrorists, this kind of political activism comes across as refreshingly modern.
While some might consider Nada as somewhat of a disappointment after Chabrol's brilliant series of films, like La femme infidèle (1969) Qua la bête meure (1969), Le Boucher (1970), La Rupture (1970) and Juste avant la nuit (1971), this remains cool, stylish and exciting film-making of the kind very few directors can match. And what about Fabio Testi in his black leather overcoat? Is he the coolest looking criminal you've ever seen, or what?
Camera Obscura --- 8/10