Thursday, 6 June 2019


Il commissario Montalbano, the Italian detective drama launched 20 years ago and starring Luca Zingaretti as the character created by author Andrea Camilleri, returned in February on RAI 1 with two new 120-minute episodes: L'altro capo del filo and Un diaro del'43.

Series regulars Cesare Bocci (Mimi Augello), Peppino Mazzotta (Giuseppe Fazio), Angelo Russo (Catarella), Davide Lo Verde (Galluzzo), Giovanni Guardiano (Jacomuzzi) and Sonia Bergamasco (Livia) are back alongside Luca Zingaretti. Aglaia Mora plays pathologist Dr. Barresi. Written by Francesco Bruni, Andrea Camilleri, Salvatore De Mola and Leonardo Marini with Valentina Alferj, L'altro capo del filo is based on Camilleri's namesake novel published in 2016 (in English: The Other End of The Line). Salvo Montalbano and his team must assist the Guardia Costiera (the Italian Coast Guard) because of a massive arrival of refugees.

Montalbano is accompanied by Dr. Osman, who acts as translator. Later, Livia asks him to get a new suit for their presence at a friend's confirmation of her wedding vows. She wants him to see seamstress Elena Biasini but Montalbano is less than enthusiastic. Elena appears to be charming and competent but soon the young woman is found murdered. Agent Catarella is a sensitive person and good man. Dr. Pasquano is on holidays. Marcello Perracchio, who played the pathologist, died in July 2017. The excellent and moving L'altro capo del filo brings Salvo Montalbano in the heart of the tragedy of migrants.

Helmed as usual by Alberto Sironi, this episode has some visually impressive scenes off the coast with a helicopter of the Guardia Costiera and one of its ship, the patrol vessel Diciotti. Also starring Elena Radonicich (Elena), Ahmed Hafiene (Dr. Osman), Eurydice El-Etr (Meriam), Giorgia Salari (Anna Silch), Carlo Calderone (Franco Guida), Anna Ferruzzo (Teresa), David Cannavò (Lilo Scotto), Davide Dolores (Diego Trupia), Nour Zarafi ("Extracomunitario" young man), Safa Derguala (Leena), Hossein Taheri (Abdul Alkarim), etc.

Based on two short stories (Un diario del'43 and Being here) (1), Un diario del'43 was penned by Francesco Bruni, Andrea Camilleri, Salvatore De Mola and Leonardo Marini with Valentina Alferj. Montalbano meets an old American named John Zuck but born Giovanni Zuccotti in Vigàta. Zuccotti tells Salvo his story and how surprised he was to find his name on the town war memorial. Journalist Nicolò Zito visits the commissario at his office to leave him a diary from 1943 found in one of the two grain silos demolished by order of the mayor of Vigàta.

A nonagenarian is shot and Catarella has terrible news: the beloved Dr. Pasquano has died. Directed by Alberto Sironi, Un Diario del'43 is absolutely superb. The tribute to Pasquano and Marcello Perracchio is beautiful and elegant. The performance of American actor Dominic Chianese ("Uncle Junior" in The Sopranos) as John Zuck is award-worthy. Giulio Brogi, who plays Brother Carlo Colussi, died at the age of 83 the day after Rai 1 shown the episode. Roberto Nobile returns as Nicolò Zito.

Also starring Selene Caramazza (Alessandra De Rossi), Roberta Caronia (Rosalba), Marco Basile (Matteo Todaro), Aldo La Spina (Pepè Panarello), Rosa Giustolisi (Mrs Pasquano), Angelo Tosto (Don Giummarra), Sylvia La Monaca (Franca Puca), Franco Colaiemma, Nellina Laganà (Zina), Nino Bellomo (Angelino Todaro), Lorenzo Adorni (Young Carlo Colussi), Fabrizio Romano (Father Carmelo), etc. Il commissario Montalbano is produced by Palomar and RAI Fiction.

Produced by Carlo Degli Esposti, founder and president of Palomar, and Nora Barbieri with Max Gusberti. Marco Camilli is the producer for Palomar and Erica Pellegrini produces for RAI. Gianfranco Barbagallo exec produces. Chrystelle Robin is the production manager. Music composed and conducted by Franco Piersanti. Songs by Olivia Sellerio. Cinematography by Franco Lecca. Filmed with the support of Regione Siciliana and Sicilia Film Commission. This production is part of the Programma Sensi Contemporanei Cinema e Audiovisivo.

Distributed by Rai Com. Il commissario Montalbano is aired in the UK by BBC Four as Inspector Montalbano and in France on France 3 as Commissaire Montalbano. In the United States, the series is available on MHZ Choice under the title Detective Montalbano. The SVOD service will premiere both episodes (The Other End of the Line and A diary from 1943) this month.

(1) Both from Un mese con Montalbano (1998). (The blog of Carlo Degli Esposti) 

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