Nana (1926 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Nana is Jean Renoir's second full-length film produced in 1926. It is based on the novel by Émile Zola. A government official, Count Muffat, falls under the spell of Nana, a young actress. She becomes his mistress, living in the sumptuous apartment which he provides for her. Instead of elevating herself to Muffat's level, however, Nana drags the poor man down to hers - in the end, both lives have been utterly destroyed.

The film stars Renoir’s wife, Catherine Hessling, in an eccentric performance as the flawed heroine Nana.

Jean Renoir’s film is a fairly faithful adaptation of Emile Zola’s classic novel. The film’s extravagances include two magnificent set pieces – a horse race and an open air ball. The film never made a profit, and it was the commercial failure of this film which robbed Renoir of the opportunity to make such an ambitious film again for several years.


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