When the vivacious and beautiful Nana bombs at the Théâtre des Variétés, she embarks on the life of a courtesan, using her allure and charisma to entice and pleasure men.



(scenario), (inspired by the novel by) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After her father's death and her uncle having drunk all the inheritance, Virginia is left alone. She is accepted by a family of bohemians but a quarrel between the bohemians and the ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Catherine Hessling, Charlotte Clasis, Pierre Champagne
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him. Mrs Lestingois and the maid Anne-Marie (Mr Lestingois' mistress... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Marcelle Hainia, Sévérine Lerczinska
Drama | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A news-reel like movie about early part of the French Revolution, shown from the eyes of individual people, citizens of Marseille, counts in German exile and, of course the king Louis XVI, ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Lise Delamare, Louis Jouvet, Pierre Renoir
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An impoverished girl tries to sell matches on NYE. Shivering with cold and unable to sell her wares, she sits in a sheltered nook. Striking a match to keep warm, she sees things in the flame.

Directors: Jean Renoir, Jean Tédesco
Stars: Catherine Hessling, Eric Barclay, Jean Storm
Toni (1935)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the 1920s, the Provence is a magnet for immigrants seeking work in the quarries or in agriculture. Many mingle with locals and settle down permanently - like Toni, an Italian who has ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Charles Blavette, Celia Montalván, Jenny Hélia
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When a famous Shakespearean actor falls in love with a woman above his station, his professional and personal life begin to crumble.

Director: Alexandre Volkoff
Stars: Ivan Mozzhukhin, Nathalie Lissenko, Pauline Po
Monte Cristo (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Henri Fescourt
Stars: Jean Angelo, Lil Dagover, Gaston Modot
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Suzy Prim, Louis Jouvet
Short | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Shot in three days, this surreal, erotic silent short shows a native white girl teaching a futuristic African airman the Charleston dance.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Catherine Hessling, Johnny Hudgins, Pierre Braunberger
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An upper-class corporal from Paris is captured by the Germans when they invade France in 1940. Assisted and accompanied by characters as diverse as a morose dairy farmer, a waiter, a myopic... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Brasseur, O.E. Hasse
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Julien Carette, Simone Simon
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Coast Guardsman suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress becomes involved with a beautiful and enigmatic seductress married to a blind painter.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Joan Bennett, Robert Ryan, Charles Bickford


Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Lestringuez ...
Bordenave (as Pierre Philippe)
Jacqueline Forzane ...
La Comtesse Sabine Muffat
Le Comte de Vandeuvres
Raymond Guérin-Catelain ...
Georges Hugon (as R. Guérin Catelain)
Fauchery (as Claude Moore)
Pierre Champagne ...
Karl Harbacher ...
Francis - le coiffeur (as Arbacher)
Zoe - la femme de chambre
Jacqueline Ford ...
Rose Mignon
Le jockey de 'Nana' (as Price)
Gresham ...
Le jockey de 'Lusignan'
Luc Dartagnan ...
Maréchal - le bookmaker (as Dartagnan)
Nita Romani ...


Based on the famous novel by Emile Zola. The vivacious and beautiful Nana seeks fame on the stages of Paris in the shows at the Théâtre des Variétés. (which will look familiar to lovers of "Children of Paradise"). When she bombs as an actress, Nana becomes a courtesan, using her allure and charisma more directly to entice and pleasure men. She is kept in a sumptuous fashion by a wealthy count, and several prominent and wealthy men find themselves unable to withstand her charms. In the novel, the theater manager describe Nana: "Nana has something else, dammit, and something that takes the place of everything else. I scented it out, and it smells damnably strong in her, or else I lost my sense of smell." But there's a pain and a pathos at the heart of Nana's situation, and it slowly makes its poisonous way into the lives of all in Nana's orbit. Written by Ann Walton Sieber

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 June 1926 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Nanà  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

NANA (Jean Renoir, 1926) ***
6 June 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is the first Jean Renoir Silent film I have watched and perhaps rightly so since it is generally regarded to be his best, besides being also his first major work. Overall, it is indeed a very assured and technically accomplished film which belies the fact that it was only Renoir’s sophomore effort. For fans of the director, it is full of interesting hints at future Renoir movies especially THE DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID (1946) and THE GOLDEN COACH (1952) – in its depiction of a lower class femme fatale madly desired by various aristocrats who disgrace themselves for her – but also THE RULES OF THE GAME (1939) – showing as it does in one sequence how the rowdy servants behave when their masters' backs are turned away from them – and FRENCH CANCAN (1955) – Nana is seen having a go at the scandalous dance at one point. Personally, I would say that the film makes for a respectable companion piece to G.W. Pabst’s PANDORA’S BOX (1928), Josef von Sternberg’s THE BLUE ANGEL (1930) and Max Ophuls’ LOLA MONTES (1955) in its vivid recreation of the sordid life of a courtesan.

Having said all that, the film was a resounding critical and commercial failure at the time of its release – a “mad undertaking” as Renoir himself later referred to it in his memoirs which, not only personally cost him a fortune (he eventually eased the resulting financial burden by selling off some of his late father’s paintings), but almost made him give up the cinema for good! Stylistically, NANA is quite different from Renoir’s sound work and owes a particular debt to Erich von Stroheim’s FOOLISH WIVES (1922), a film Renoir greatly admired – and, on a personal note, one which I really ought to revisit presto (having owned the Kino DVD of it and the other von Stroheims for 4 years now). Anyway, NANA is certainly not without its flaws: a deliberate pace makes itself felt during the overly generous 130 minute running time with some sequences (the horse race around the mid-point in particular) going on too long.

The overly mannered acting style on display is also hard to take at times – particularly that of Catherine Hessling’s Nana and Raymond Guerin-Catelain’s Georges Hugon (one of her various suitors)…although, technically, they are being their characters i.e. a bad actress (who takes to the courtesan lifestyle when she is booed off the stage) and an immature weakling, respectively. However, like Anna Magnani in THE GOLDEN COACH, Hessling (Renoir’s wife at the time, by the way) is just not attractive enough to be very convincing as “the epitome of elegance” (as another admirer describes her at one stage) who is able to enslave every man she meets. Other notables in the cast are “Dr. Caligari” himself, Werner Krauss (as Nana’s most fervent devotee, Count Muffat), Jean Angelo (as an initially skeptical but eventually tragic suitor of Nana’s) and future distinguished film director Claude Autant-Lara (billed as Claude Moore and also serving as art director here) as Muffat’s close friend but who is secretly enamored with the latter’s neglected wife!

The print I watched – via Lionsgate’s “Jean Renoir 3-Disc Collector’s Edition” – is, for the most part, a lovingly restored and beautifully-tinted one which had been previously available only on French DVD. Being based on a classic of French literature (by Emile Zola, no less), it cannot help but having been brought to the screen several times and the two most notable film versions are Dorothy Arzner’s in 1934 (with Anna Sten and Lionel Atwill and which I own on VHS) and Christian-Jaque’s in 1955 (with Martine Carol and Charles Boyer, which I am not familiar with).

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Nana (1926) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: