La Balance

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La Balance
Directed by Bob Swaim
Produced by Alexandre Mnouchkine
Georges Dancigers
Music by Roland Bocquet
Cinematography Bernard Zitzermann
Edited by Françoise Javet
Les Films Ariane
Films A2
Release date(s) 10 November 1982
Running time 103 min.
Country France
Language French

La Balance (US title: The Nark; literal translation : The Informer) is a 1982 French film directed by Bob Swaim and starring Nathalie Baye, Philippe Léotard, Tchéky Karyo, Maurice Ronet and Jean-Paul Comart. It won the César Award for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress, and was nominated for Most Promising Actor (twice), Best Director, Best Writing - Original and Best Editing. The film had a total of 4,192,189 admissions in France becoming the 5th highest grossing film of the year.[1]


Nicole is a streetwalker in Paris. Her former racketeer boyfriend and pimp, Dede, has been excluded from the business of a local mob boss, Roger Massina, because of a romantic dispute over Nicole. When a police informant is killed, the police decide to recruit Dede as a replacement. The police raid Dede's apartment, find a gun, and blackmail him into becoming an informant using this and other threats.

The police want to get to Massina, and they try to use Dede to do it. Dede agrees to participate in a set-up, and tries to return to the good side of Massina by telling him about a rich antique dealer he has found to rob (actually part of the set-up), and asking him for help. Massina yields to greed and agrees to set something up, letting Dede partially back into his organization.

On the day of the heist, Dede is part of the team. But Massina doesn't trust Dede entirely, so he replaces him at the last minute with his semi-psychotic, gun-happy henchman, Petrovic. Dede calls the police and tries to call off the set-up, but one of the police officers, Le Belge, wearing a Walkman, doesn't hear the call and continues with the plan. Le Belge stages a traffic accident that blocks Massina's van, as planned. As Le Belge stalls Massina's van, Petrovic becomes suspicious, and suddenly begins shooting everyone in sight, killing several civilians and nearly killing Le Belge (who is saved by his Walkman, which absorbs the bullet). Massina slips away into the Métro, but Petrovic is chased and trapped by the police after he ruthlessly kills an officer. Le Capitaine, aware that Petrovic has just shot a number of innocent people and several police officers, shoots Petrovic in the head at point-blank range, killing him, then calmly instructs his officers to reload Petrovic's gun.

Dede tries to escape but is found by Massina, who prepares to execute him in an alley. Dede overpowers Massina, however, and turns the gun on him, shooting him in the mouth and killing him. Dede then goes into hiding, knowing that Massina's crew will come looking for him. But Nicole, his girlfriend, fearing for Dede's life, deliberately turns him in to the police, who arrest him, on the assumption that he's safer in jail than on the streets. The movie ends with Nicole watching from a car and crying as Dede is taken away by the police.



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Preceded by
Quest for Fire
César Award for Best Film
Succeeded by
Le Bal and À nos amours