There's been a death in a French flophouse, but virtually all of the film takes place in a deserted factory which Moreau has turned into a gloomy café of sorts. Here four men play bridge while the Dior-draped Ardant languishes in a hammock. One of them is a killer. The barman (Piccoli in fine whimsical form) is the 'nonentity' of the title; he presides over the game-playing, and cues bursts of loud music: Janacek, for example, serves to herald the entrance of the detective (Yanne) determined to unravel the murder mystery. When not being abused by the customers, Piccoli reads a copy of the thriller by Franz-Rudolph Falk on which the film is based: its subject, in other words, is nothing but itself. This is Robbe-Grillet intertextualised with Greenaway, and the result is an enthralling tediousness.
Cast and crew