21 January 2013 | dbdumonteil
The rise of a street vendor
One of the very few movies of the thirties which was directed by a woman ;but like Marie Epstein for "La Maternelle" (1932) which was made by a co-director ,"La Banque Nemo" was supervised by Jean Choux (who directed "Un Chien Qui Rapporte).A woman was not to be trusted in those years when they did not even vote in France.
Based on a play ,"La Banque Nemo" does not look like filmed stage production though;it's a pleasant ,and thoroughly immoral (mainly for the time) story.
A street vendor meets an army pal , a cashier in the bank Nemo (a nod to Verne's captain ,"nemo" means "nobody" or "anonym") and his lovely lover .It's not long before this would be friend steals the job and the girl ;but he does not want to be a simple clerk ;with a little help from his mistress,and the involuntary support of the ugly wife of the boss (Alice Tissot)with whom he reluctantly sleeps,he climbs the career ladder quickly and becomes the senior banking executive.While the boss is away,he multiplies the swindles,protected by members of the government.The ending was unusual for the time,for the villain is rewarded ,taking it all,and his former friend,who tries to unmask him ,is arrested one more time after spending several months in jail.
Probably because of its hints at the Stavisky affair,the movie ran into difficulties with the censorship;its "happy end" was also rather risqué;the scene of the Cabinet meeting does not spare the politicians ;and the hero's hypocrisy and cynicism are incredible!
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Stavisky ,Alain Resnais ,1974