Friday, 30 April 2021

HPI - SEASON 1, EPISODES 3 & 4: COLIN-MAILLARD & PHYLLOBATES TERRIBILIS (TF1)

The fabulous Audrey Fleurot (Spiral, A French Village) stars in HPI, a fun and well-crafted 8 x 52-minute French comedy/crime drama created by Alice Chegaray-Breugnot and Nicolas Jean  — two of the creators of La Mante — with Stéphane Carrié (1) for TF1
 
Vincent Jamain (Balthazar, Profilage) helmed the first four episodes and Laurent Tuel did the rest. 

Audrey Fleurot plays Morgane Alvaro, 38, single mother of three children (from two different fathers) and cleaning lady at the commissariat de Lille with a disdain for authority and a 160 I.Q. that makes her HPI (Haut Potentiel Intellectuel, hence the title). Following her unsolicited intervention on a case, Commissaire Céline Hazan orders Commandant Adam Karadec to bring Morgane on the investigation. The no-nonsense Karadec is less than pleased to work with this uncontrollable civilian who hates cops! 
 
Alvaro finally accepts to be a consultant for the police but only if Hazan finds what happened to Romain, the father of her daughter missing for 15 years. Mehdi Nebbou, who worked for Steven Spielberg or Ridley Scott and appeared on German TV in Tatort and GSG 9 – Ihr Einsatz ist ihr Leben or in the U.S. drama Homeland, plays Karadec. Céline Hazan is played by Marie Denarnaud (La malédiction du volcan). Also starring Bruno Sanches (Gilles Vandraud), Bérangère McNeese (Daphné Forestier), Cypriane Gardin (Théa), Noé Vandevoorde (Eliott), Rufus (Henri) and Michèle Moretti as Morgane's mother Agnès.
 
In Colin-maillard, Commandant Karadec suggests Morgane Alvaro to confront Agnès about the video but she can't. Florence Grangeon comes to the police station with her father Arnaud Grangeon, owner of a chain of luxury hotels, to report the disappearance of her two little girls. Did Frank Sorin, their father separated from Florence for six months, kidnap them? Morgane gives Adam a lecture about permaculture and risks big to find the children in this excellent episode which combines comedy (the talent of Audrey Fleurot + fast-paced montages of stock photos), suspense and emotion.

Written by Julien Anscutter, Marion Carnel and Alice Chegaray-Breugnot (with Stéphane Carrié). Christopher Bayemi, who plays Dr. Bonnemain is also the French Luther in TF1's adaptation of the BBC series. Guest starring Michel Voïta (Baron noir, R.I.S. Police scientifique) as Arnaud, Clémentine Baert (Florence), François Pérache (Jérémy Morel), Annette Lowcay (Agathe Grangeon), Olivier Faliez (Ivan), Juliette André (Juliette), Margot André (Laura), Saverio Maligno (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie) as Maître Balland, Cerise Peroua (Cheryl), Pauline Pouchin (Clara Patrelli), Jean-Pierre Duthoit (Antique dealer) and Cédric Le Maoût (Clerk).

Phyllobates terribilis is the latin  name of the Golden poison frog. It's also the title of the very good fourth episode, written by Julien Anscutter, Julie-Anna Grignon and Alice Chegaray-Breugnot (with Stéphane Carrié). Fanny Marini, a veterinarian specialized in exotic animals, is murdered. The vet's ex-boyfriend just got out of prison and recently her clients started to grow disatisfied. Morgane saves the life of Karadec and finally talks to her mother. No spoilers but the epilogue leaves a tad perplexed. 
 
With Akache Busiah (Ranir, owner of the restaurant), Christelle Cornil (Camille Duez), Christophe Sermet (Paul Duez), Thao Maerten (Maël Duez), Frédéric Quiring (Loïc Ballant), Agnès Château (Odile Marini), Jacques Bouanich (Thierry Marini), etc. Produced by Septembre Productions and Itinéraire Productions with TF1, Be-Films, RTBF (Télévision belge) and Pictanovo. Filmed with the support of Région Hauts-de-France. Made in association with Umedia and the support of the Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral de Belgique.
 
Jean Nainchrik, Anthony Lancret and Pierre Laugier are the line producers. Patrice Onfray exec produces.  Produced by Anthony Lancret, Pierre Laugier and Bérengère Legrand. Music by Yannis Dumoutiers. Cinematography by Benjamin Louet. Editing by Emmanuel Douce. High Intellectual Potential (the international title of HPI) is distributed by Newen Connect. HPI started this week on TF1 with phenomenal ratings (2). The 8 episodes are available on Salto, the French streaming service.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

HPI - SEASON 1, EPISODES 1 & 2: VENTS D'OUEST & COUTUME MALGACHE (TF1)

In a world overcrowded with crime and mystery dramas where eccentric and loose cannon sleuths are dime a dozen, only one woman can make the difference... Audrey Fleurot.
 
The bottom line: Come for Audrey Fleurot, stay for the show.
 
Audrey Fleurot (Spiral, A French Village) stars in HPI, a 8 x 52-minute French comedy/crime drama created for TF1 by Alice Chegaray-Breugnot and Nicolas Jean two of the creators of La Mante with Stéphane Carrié (1). Vincent Jamain (Balthazar, Profilage) helmed the first four episodes and Laurent Tuel did the rest. The actress plays Morgane Alvaro, 38, single mother of three children (from two different fathers) and cleaning lady at the commissariat de Lille with a disdain for authority and a 160 I.Q. that makes her HPI (Haut Potentiel Intellectuel, hence the title). When Morgane accidentally reads the file of a murder case, she deduces that its prime suspect is a victim too.
 
Both embarassed and intrigued, Commissaire Céline Hazan orders Commandant Adam Karadec to bring Morgane Alvaro on the investigation. The no-nonsense Karadec is less than pleased to work with this uncontrollable civilian who hates cops! At first, HPI looks like a parody: it takes Morgane less than 30 seconds to practice her "HPIsm" during a 3-minute pre-credit sequence meant to sell the series if you missed the trailer. But Audrey Fleurot is fabulous (of course) right from the start of Vents d'ouest, the pleasant premiere episode — written by Alice Chegaray-Breugnot, Stéphane Carrié and Nicolas Jean, whose plot could fit in any crime drama of the moment.
 
The husband of a lawyer has been killed and the police believes his wife did it because she has disappeared. Poor Commandant Karadec does his best to follow the red tornado. Finally she accepts to be a police consultant only if Commissaire Hazan finds what happened to Romain, the father of her daughter missing for 15 years. The actors alongside Audrey Fleurot are excellent: Mehdi Nebbou, who worked for Steven Spielberg or Ridley Scott and appeared on German TV in Tatort and GSG 9 – Ihr Einsatz ist ihr Leben or in the U.S. drama Homeland, plays Karadec. Céline Hazan is played by Marie Denarnaud (La malédiction du volcan).
 
The other regulars are Bruno Sanches (Gilles Vandraud), Bérangère McNeese (Daphné Forestier), Cypriane Gardin (Théa), Noé Vandevoorde (Eliott), Cédric Chevalme (Ludovic Mullier) and  the great Rufus as Henri. The guest stars of Episode 1 are Christopher Bayemi (Dr. Bonnemain), Akache Busiah (Ranir), Émilie Lafarge (Rosalie Tellier),  Camille Aguilar (Mathilde Levasseur), Philippe Capelle (Maître Sédillot), Benjamin Egner (Philippe Leroux), Caroline Filipek (Jeanne Levasseur), etc. Things get really interesting in Coutume malgache, penned by Stéphane Carrié, Alice Chegaray-Breugnot and Nicolas Jean.
 
In the impeccable second episode, a man is murdered and found dead in the bathtub of an expensive suite of a luxury hotel. The victim stole the identity of a Belgian citizen and his life was a lie with sad consequences. Karadec and Alvaro try to adjust to each other. The commandant runs in the kitchen and discovers something about Romain. The guest stars of Episode 2 are Nicolas Baisin (Romain), Salima Glamine (Alexandra Berger), Victor Pontecorvo (Greg), Vassili Schneider (Erwan Ribois), Catherine Demaiffe (Blood of the Vine) as Gladys Puger, Isabelle Defosse (Ève Ribois), etc. Produced by Septembre Productions and Itinéraire Productions with TF1, Be-Films, RTBF (Télévision belge) and Pictanovo. 
 
Filmed with the support of Région Hauts-de-France. Made in association with Umedia and the support of the Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral de Belgique. Jean Nainchrik, Anthony Lancret and Pierre Laugier are the line producers. Patrice Onfray exec produces.  Produced by Anthony Lancret, Pierre Laugier and Bérengère Legrand. Music by Yannis Dumoutiers. Cinematography by Benjamin Louet. Editing by Jean de Garrigues. High Intellectual Potential (the international title of HPI) is distributed by Newen Connect. These enjoyable first episodes of HPI, which will be shown by TF1 on April 29th, promise a good series.

The 8 episodes of HPI are already available on Salto, the French streaming service.

(1) Based on an idea from Nicolas Jean. Djibril Glissant and Franck Martins contributed to the series.

Monday, 19 April 2021

PERFECT MURDERS (CRIMES PARFAITS) - CAPTAIN AGNÈS BERTAUD: LA MESSE EST DITE/LA BALLE EST DANS TON CAMP (FRANCE 3)

French pubcaster France 3's detective drama Crimes parfaits is a "semi-anthology" where a murderer known from the start thinks he/she has committed the perfect crime but a detective (different in every couple of episodes) proves him/her wrong. 

It's the concept of the inverted detective story, popularized by Columbo though created in literature many years before the famous lieutenant. Crimes parfaits is available in the United States as Perfect Murders, thanks to SVOD service MHz Choice (1).
 
ITE MISSA MISSED EST
 
With five sleuths rotating in 26 52-minute episodes since 2017, Crimes parfaits is part of France 3's hugely popular regional crime drama line-up. Isabelle Gélinas (Fais pas çi, fais pas ça) returns as Agnès Bertaud, an unconventional police captain who prefers her chickens to cell phones and high tech in general. She shares her life between two sympathetic men (perfectly aware of the situation). Enough to confuse Thibaud Demazière, her uptight and by-the-book lieutenant, played by Arthur Mazet. Thomas Walch is back as Max.
 
In La messe est dite, special guest star Fred Testot (Sam, La Mante) plays Renaud Husson. This chemist and mayor of a small village murders Father Simonin, priest of the local church and first cousin of his wife Christine. Agnès and Thibaud walk through the beautiful southeastern village of Cucuron in a disappointing episode with some heavy dialogues. And this is the second time that Crime parfaits uses allergy in a plot. 
 
The "husbands" of Agnès Bertaud, Philippe and Micha, are played by Franck Adrien (Un si grand soleil) and Laurent Fernandez. Alice Chenu plays Christine Husson. Also with Marc Wilhelm (Father Simonin), Bénedicte Vidal (Mrs Berger), Paul Fructus (Monseigneur Ducatti), Najim El Atouani (Omar), Benoît Garrigos (Postman) and Leslie Pranal (Josiane).
 
LE CRIME DU GOLF

Sara Martins (Alexandra Ehle, Death in Paradise) plays the murderer in the far better La balle est dans ton camp. Marion Garnier kills Commissaire Lambert on a golf course and disguises the crime as an accident provoked by a player. The problem is that Marion is a cop too and Thibaud finds her very charming. Max is a living encyclopedia on golf. Agnès goes to the police station (well, on the roof). It's France 3 so the landscapes are mandatorily gorgeous and societal concerns of the moment are shoehorned into the story but the murder is smart and there are moments of great fun. 
 
With Raphael Pellegrino (Lambert), Mathias Minne (Marciano), Benjamin Gomez (Jean-Louis Maertens), Maxime Flourac (Technician), Philippe Lévy (Manager) and Matthieu Ambid (Player). Co-produced by Éléphant Story and France Télévisions, with AT-Production, R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge) and RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse). Filmed with the participation of Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Produced by Guillaume Renouil and Gaëlle Cholet
 
Executive production by Pierre Gallo for Solune Production. Thierry Bizot and Emmanuel Chain are the associate producers. Stéphane Schneider is the production manager for Élephant Story. Music and theme from Crimes parfaits composed by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Song One Day composed by Jean-Pierre Taïeb and performed by Elia. Cinematography by Jérôme Carles. Editing by Grégoire Chevalier-Naud. Filmed in Marseille and Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
 
Both La messe est dite and La balle est dans ton camp, not yet shown  by France 3, were penned by Didier Le Pêcheur & Delphine Labouret and helmed by Philippe Bérenger.
 
(1) The international title of Crimes parfaits is actually Perfect Crimes but MHz Choice has a documentary series called Almost Perfect Crimes (Des crimes presque parfaits).
 
https://www.chateaularcgolfclub.com/ (Château l'Arc Golf Club)
 
See also: 
 

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

LA MALÉDICTION DE L'ESCARGOT (PHILIPPE CAROIT, ÉDITIONS ANNE CARRIÈRE)

[Favourite of the Month] A man who said he would never have a child discovers that he actually has one in this feelgood novel written by the multi-talented French thespian Philippe Caroit and published last november.

Hugo Talmont, a popular actor, is a self-proclaimed advocate of degrowth who doesn't want a child. Olivia, his girlfriend, just broke up with him because of her desire to have one. He tries to forget her on stage, with his best friend Mickey or in the Bois de Vincennes where he jogs. Hugo's relationship with his father, now in a care home, is a more profound reason to his refusal of paternity.

One evening, an enigmatic 18-year old teenager named Candice Montero asks Talmont for an autograph. When he meets her again some days later she tells him that she's his daughter. Her mother Lydia won't talk about it but Candice proves it's true. The problem is that Hugo can't remember Lydia Montero at all. Actor Philippe Caroit worked on stage for Robert Hossein, Jean-Claude Brialy or Jean-Luc Moreau. He played in movies helmed by Éric Rohmer or Alain Jessua. And television made him a familiar face since the 1980s.

Crime drama fans know him for Les Boeuf-carottes (1995-2001), four seasons of RIS Police scientifique (2006-2014) (1) and the semi-anthology Perfect Murders (Crimes parfaits), where he's one of the five detectives since 2017. Philippe Caroit also appeared in Joséphine, ange gardien, Magellan (Commissaire Magellan) or Murder in... (Meurtres à...). He speaks English, Italian, Spanish and even German, which allowed him to be one of the regulars of Borderland (Über die Grenze) for pubcaster Das Erste.

Philippe Caroit is also a playwright, a painter and a musician. La malédiction de l'escargot is his first novel and the author acknowledges a few similarities between the main character and himself. The great journey to happiness of Hugo and Candice is a genuine pleasure, especially in those difficult times. Hopefully Mr Caroit, a man of many talents, will write more novels and a producer will consider La malédiction de l'escargot for an adaptation.

(1) Between 2007 and 2010. 

https://anne-carriere.fr/livre/la-malediction-de-lescargot
http://www.philippecaroit.com/ 

See also:

https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2020/12/borderland-uber-die-grenze-episodes-1-2.html
https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2020/11/perfect-murders-crimes-parfaits.html
https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2019/05/crimes-parfaits-pour-leternitea-coeur.html
https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2018/05/crimes-parfaits-episodes-5-6-france-3.html