Monday, 22 May 2017


In the beautiful Black Forest region of West Germany, Professor Klaus Brinkmann runs the Schwarzwaldklinik, a prestigious private hospital.

The second half of the first series of Black Forest Clinic (Die Schwarzwaldklinik, 1985-1989), the German cult medical drama, is now available on French Region 2 DVD from Koba Films as "La clinique de la Forêt-Noire - Saison 2".


Commissaire Laurence becomes a secret agent again after the death of a good friend from the intelligence community during an assignment at the Lille Opera.

« Non, pas Brigitte! Je déteste Brigitte! »
Written by Thierry Debroux, L'homme au complet marron is based on Agatha Christie's novel The Man in the Brown Suit. It's the second of the two episodes of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie's Criminal Games) filmed between October and December 2016. Like Le miroir se brisa, the previous episode, it is directed by Rodolphe Tissot (The Churchmen/Ainsi soient-ils). Swiss television RTS aired both ahead of French pubcaster France 2.

« Les Russes? Comment ils sont les Russes?
- Slaves. »

French secret agent Nadine Mercuret works undercover as the secretary of Alexandre Latour, the director of the Opera Moderne de Lille. Her service thinks that ballerina Tatiana Pochenko is a member of a Soviet spy ring run by the mysterious "Colonel". When Nadine finds out his true identity, she's mortally wounded but tries to warn ex-colleague and friend Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) at his appartment. To avenge her death, the commissaire collaborates with Gaullic spymaster Gilbert Loyson, a pal from his Resistance days, and disguises himself as a woman to be the new secretary of Mr Latour. After all, no less than the security of the free world is at stake.

« Bienvenue dans le monde des femmes, commissaire. »

Jules Touchard, an employee of the Opera, is knocked over by a black car right in front Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir). Soon Gilbert arranges the necessary disappearance of Swan. Marlène (Élodie Frenck), sworn to secrecy on the life of her goldfish, teaches her boss how to be "Brigitte", the perfect secretary. Brigitte's face seems familiar to Avril, who instantly dislikes her. Contrary to Tricard (Dominique Thomas), who likes this Brigitte a bit too much. Between a 60s spy caper and Some Like It Hot, L'homme au complet marron is a pure wonder dominated by the performance of Samuel Labarthe. It's also a great occasion to put the talented Dominique Thomas under the spotlight with much more screen time than usual.

The excellent guest cast includes Thierry Gimenez (Gilbert Loyson) (1), Grégoire Oestermann (Latour), Marie Céline (Tatiana Pochenko), Alice Dufour (Lisa Bonfanti), Mikaël Chirinian (Patrick Mallet), Benjamin Gauthier (Eustache Miller), Céline Cuignet (Martine Touchard), Anton Yakovlev (Sergueï), etc. Some of them worked with Rodolphe Tissot before. Also with Cyrille Guei as Timothée Glissant, Éric Beauchamp (Martin) and François Godart (Robert Jourdeuil). Produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France. Sophie Révil is the producer. 

« Je vous déteste.  
- Oui, oui. Moi non plus. »

Main characters created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. Music composed by Stéphane Moucha. The next episode will be Drame en trois actes, written by Sylvie Simon. Followed by Crimes haute couture, penned by Jennifer Have and Zina Modiano (writers of the interesting Le miroir se brisa) and a Christmas special called Le crime de Noël, written by Thierry Debroux. Agatha Christie's Criminal Games is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice.

(1) In Le crime ne paie pas, a 2014 episode written by Thierry Debroux, Laurence's spymaster pal was called Gilbert Bourdet and he was portrayed by Renaud Rutten.

See also: (Le miroir se brisa)

This review will be revised ASAP.

Monday, 8 May 2017


[Spoiler-Free] Starring Kim Rossi Stuart, Maltese - Il romanzo del Commissario is an excellent Italian crime drama in the vein of La Piovra
1976. Dario Maltese, an elite cop with a painful past, works in Rome. He returns to his hometown of Trapani (in Sicily) to attend the wedding of his best friend Gianni Peralta, who's a senior police force member too. In the train, Dario meets photographer Elisa Ripstein. When Peralta and his bride are gunned down, Maltese asks to be transferred to Trapani in order to investigate. A local newspaper suggests that the Peralta murder is a crime of passion but the commissario is convinced that Gianni was killed by the Mafia.  

Maltese - Il romanzo del Commissario is a 4 x 90-minute miniseries written by Leonardo Fasoli & Maddalena Ravagli, the scriptwriters of the series Gomorra, with Gianluca Maria Tavarelli. Tavarelli, the helmer of Il giovane Montalbano, also masterfully directs. Pubcaster Rai 1 aired the first episode on Monday and the second on Wednesday. Maltese is a co-production between RAI Fiction and Carlo Degli Esposti's Palomar (Inspector Montalbano, I delitti del Barlume, Braccialetti rossi) with German indie Maze Pictures, ZDF Enterprises and Dramedy Productions. The talented Kim Rossi Stuart based his performance as the tenacious Dario Maltese on real-life cop Ninni Cassarà, murdered by the Cosa nostra in 1985.

The character reminds of Corrado Cattani, the policeman portrayed by Michele Placido in RAI's classic La Piovra (1984) and three of its sequels, with some shades of Salvo Montalbano. The very good cast includes Rike Schmid (Elisa Ripstein), Francesco Scianna as journalist Mauro Licatta, Antonio Milo (Saverio Mandara), Marco Leonardi, Roberto Nobile (Il Commissario Montalbano) as Police Commissioner Aldo Saura, etc. With the participation of Eros Pagni (Prosecutor Leonci), Michela Cescon (Gabriella Montano) and Valeria Solarino (Giulia Melendez). The impressive cinematography is by Marco Pieroni. German composer and music producer Ralf Hildenbeutel did the sublime score.

Produced by Carlo Degli Esposti and Nicola Serra with Max Gusberti. Marco Camilli, Margherita Murollo & Luigi Pinto are the producers for Palomar, and Giuzzi Buondonno & Filippo Rizzello produce for RAI. Patrizia Massa exec produces. Filmed with the support of the Lazio Region and the European Union. A RAI Fiction presentation distributed by ZDF Enterprises.

Friday, 5 May 2017


Well, at least we had something on this blog last month. And we did it with only one fully functional eye (seriously). 

- Matula (ZDF):

- Witnesses/Les Témoins - Series 2 (French Region 2 DVD) (Full review ASAP)

- Black Forest Clinic (French Region 2 DVD):

- Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie (France 2): (Le miroir se brisa)


- An interview with Lee Goldberg: