Re: RARA-AVIS: Mediterranean Noir on TV - Manuel Vasquez Montalban and Andrea Camilleri (was: French stuff)

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 14 Dec 2002

Steve, There was two series with Pepe Carvalho for TV. I saw only the latest one, mid 2002, a set of 5 TVfilms (1h30 each) made by Spanish TV with the help of co-productions (French and maybe some others). Some were filmed in Barcelona, the Spanish city so important for Carvalho (and for Manuel Vasquez Montalban, his creator). It was programmed by Arte (French/German cultural channel, as you probably know), but the promotion was badly done: practically no announcements and aired around midnight! Maybe they consider it was not for everyone's taste due to the noirish tendencies of Carvalho and his stories? It was like if they did not know what to do with this series. The films are lacking the intensity of the books, but the Spanish actor playing Carvalho IMO was well chosen. The realization of the films were not always adequate and some scenarios were really weak. But in the series I saw at least one film was very good, and another one not far from it. So, very mixed feelings for the series. Let us hope better things for the future of this offbeat PI on TV.

Speaking of TV serials, Italian TV is programming a series of TVfilms based on the books by Andrea Camilleri (Italian-Sicilian writer) with his Sicilian "commissaire"… Sergio Montalbano. As you probably know, the name given to Camilleri's cop is a tribute to M. V. Montalban that Camilleri admires a lot. But here the choice of the actor playing Montalbano was not very adequate physically. As my knowledge of Italian is reduced I could not follow a complete film, but the cinematography seemed to be too pedestrian to translate correctly the book.

IMO it's not so easy to translate noirish ambiance into film images under sunny climates… Requires some talent from the director; professionalism is not enough.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries

At 14:27 13-12-02 -0400, you wrote:
>Merci Etienne for the info on Navarro that many of my friends in France have
>talked about and my wife saw several times when she lived in Paris until
>99...and I'm sad to know that it'll probably never come here...and
>especially now since Tito Topin is one of my favorites and I have many of
>his books here with me in Ann Arbor....While we're on this subject wasn't
>there a series with Pepe Carvhalo, from the books of Vasquez-Montalban, made
>in Spain a few years ago, and if so how was it???
>Merci et pardon again...
>Sylvestre (Steve) Novak...le Montois de D鴲oit

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