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A Nest of Vipers – Montalbano

A Nest of Vipers

Businessman Cosimo Barletta is found dead in his holiday home, with a gunshot to the head. Montalbano’s investigation reveals a series of unexpected facts about the man’s life and death – starting with the discovery of an archive of photographs of young women and continuing with the autopsy results, which indicate there might have been more to the man’s killing than had initially met the eye. Salvo meets with Barletta’s disowned son Arturo, and is helped in his investigation by Arturo’s mysterious sister, Giovanna.

Montalbano, the kindest cop in Italy started his day sharing freshly made coffee and offering a hot shower to a man who had slept on his balcony all night. The mysterious man left for his home as Salvo was distracted by a telephone call telling him there had been yet another murder. Barletta had had a thing for young women and his murder may be linked to this or to his son’s worry that the inheritance is being frittered away.

Livia arrives unexpectedly and suggests that Salvo gives his spare clothing to  Camastra the vagrant who slept on the balcony. Salvo is less than pleased as some of the pieces are favourites or gifts from his housekeeper Adelina.

Meanwhile the young girls Barletta has been involved with may well have been blackmailed by him. Photos of them in various undressed poses give Mimi something to think about as he compares them to mug shots of known criminals and women he has known. One of them, Stephania, seems to have genuinely liked Barletta and knew nothing of the blackmail photos. Salvo holds her photos and Stella’s back when he sends the evidence over to the prosecutor.

Cannoli always looks so enticing to Salvo even in the morgue. Discussions about the cause of death don’t seem to put either man off the creamy dessert.

Salvo and Livia seems much closer than normal but even so, she calls him a stronzo several times when he misspeaks. The translation in the subtitles is “jerk” which is not exactly correct.

Barletta’s daughter seems to have set her cap at Salvo which sets the cat amongst the pigeons. Salvo’s inability to say no is as inexplicable as his locked front door while his balcony door remains  open to all and sundry.

The vagrant holds a key piece of information that allows Montalbano to draw the investigation to  close even if the conclusion will shock the unprepared viewer.

 

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Montalbano – The Mud Pyramid

The Mud Pyramid

A man’s body is found inside an industrial pipe on a building site. Montalbano and Fazio manage to identify the victim and try to contact his missing wife. Meanwhile, journalist Lucia Gambardella reaches out to Montalbano with information on a local corruption ring involving fraudulent building contracts.

In Italian with English subtitles.

 

So, it does rain in Sicily. The thunderous opening scene masked a shot between the shoulder blades to a mysterious man in his underwear trying to ride his bicycle to escape into a large concrete pipe. His body was found by workers the next morning 18 metres from the entrance. Montalbano, who is claustrophobic, can’t investigate in situ so the body is brought back outside. Salvo is convinced the man must be a local who lives nearby.

Meanwhile Mimi can’t speak to a woman at the station as she is yet another of his former lovers – this time one who spurned him. A woman who immediately has Montalbano’s admiration.

Guiciu Nicotra is the discovered corpse, identified by his facial scar. Inge his German wife is said, by an older neighbour, to be a slut happy to receive guests. Inge is dead too, still in the house awaiting discovery according to Salvo’s theory. The only problem is, no body is discovered and a later phone call claims she is back in Germany.

A female journalist meets Salvo on his balcony – that view enhanced by glasses of vino. Who wouldn’t say yes to that? Her investigation is based on collapsing buildings and subsidence, and who exactly is to blame.

A gloved guest has been living with Gerlando and Inge, a fugitive who knows his prints are on file.

Piscopo is in the hospital being protected by Salvo when pantomime thugs arrive with guns but Salvo bravely chases them off and receives a concussion for his trouble.

A secret  basement in the garage of Inge’s house is discovered but Inge remains illusive. A safe full of money appears to be the motive, but is it?

 

 

Montalbano – A Delicate Matter

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Salvo is back in Vigata, Sicily! Livia will have to get used to coming home to Salvo not being there when she comes home from work. The many faces of Livia are somewhat confusing for the audience so it is as well they make the character names obvious in the exposition of the first scene with them both. “Exasperating!” as Livia would say. (Played this time by Sonia Bergamasco.)

Montalbano is visiting Livia in Boccadasse when he is called back to Vigata to investigate the murder of Maria, a 70-year-old prostitute – as well as disturbing accusations at an elementary school.

Mimi as usual is overly keen to interview an attractive female witness and goes down the route of deviant sex as the motivation/explanation of the murder. Salvo is unimpressed by this and also the American style of victim/suspect photos on the wall of the police station. Catarella has a theory about the son of a prostitute being the client.

Of course things are more complex than that. Maria has been preparing for retirement with her husband and as a waiter he won’t stop working until she does as he wants to have the continued respect of the community, not one associated with being a ruffian who lives off immoral earnings.

Meanwhile a young male teacher is rumoured to be overly affectionate towards the young daughter of a fellow teacher. The woman is living alone with her daughter while her husband works away from home. The young male is good looking and unblemished until this new rumour takes hold.

Salvo learns to send picture attachments in his phone and Mimi’s latest infidelity is discovered due to leaving his gun behind.

Adelina takes it upon herself to teach Livia to cook and Livia’s new dog takes over the household more and more.

One suspect ends up dead narrowing down the possibilities.

Salvo, of course, solves the case while we feast our eyes on the scenery.

Salvo Montalbano Luca Zingaretti
Giuseppe Fazio Peppino Mazzotta
Livia Burlando Sonia Bergamasco
Mimi Augello Cesare Bocci
Catarella Angelo Russo
Pasquano Marcello Perracchio
Nicolo Zito Roberto Nobile
Teresita Gaudenzio Miriam Dalmazio
Maria Castellino Ileana Rigano
Serafino Lollo Franco
Preside Vasilico Sebastiano Tringali
Mimmo Tavano Giancarlo Barbara

 

Lady MacBeth

Trailer

Broadchurch 3

My preferred way of watching TV series these days is to binge watch most of the episodes so I can omit the adverts. Watching the intro to Broadchurch 3 was harrowing. Picking up the story in the aftermath of a rape and watching the rape kit procedures being carried out focused the attention fully. An unreliable witness due to concussion made the teasing of details difficult. Police evidence bags, moving camera work, the victim’s hand gripping the gloved hand of the healthcare worker made us immediately on the side of the woman. The help offered after the probing, showering and dressing was an important message to the viewer that the reporting of crime might be traumatic but that there is support “out there”. Trish the victim’s only question was, “Do you believe me?” Ellie believes her to the extent that she circumvents protocols again and gives out her mobile number.

It’s not until episode 4 that the narrative uses the recollections of Trish to have flashback scenes. By then we know Trish has had sex with someone else the same morning and has been getting abusive texts warning her to be silent and gifts of flowers saying “Thinking of you”.

 

 

Trespass Against Us

The film Trespass Against Us starring Michael Fassbender  revolves around the Cutler family who live a life of chaos and criminality centred around their caravan site. The film jolts the audience into this life from the first moment when we see a young boy sitting on his father’s knee while driving over a field chasing a hare. In the car are others of the Cutler gang whooping for joy and egging each other on. Car chases and wanting what is best for the children are recurring themes in the film. Fassbender portrays the gentler criminal who agrees with his wife that his children should get an education, something he never had. His lack of ability to read has heavily impacted on his life leaving him no option but to follow the ways of his father who is not a likable character. Despite the appearance of poverty the Cutler family have access to lots of money due to their willingness to pull off another heist.

At the heart of the story is control and family love and knowing who really is acting in the best interests of their son.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/27/trespass-against-us-british-gangster-movie-michael-fassbender

Tenement life

They say that some memories are false so this may be a construct but when I was little we lived in a room and kitchen in a Glasgow tenement in the early 60s before moving to the Ayrshire coast. I remember various snapshots of the experience such as green tiled walls in the “close”, a cludgy which was shared with other families, sleeping in the kitchen and keeping the “room” for visitors. No doubt this was considered an acceptable way for my parents to begin family life but in retrospect it is no wonder that the Glasgow overspill to Irvine was such a popular choice.

The stairwell needed to be scrubbed with the banister buffed and the white line paintwork on stone needed to be kept pristine. The kitchen overlooked a more open area where, I think, children played, bins were stored and washing was pegged out. Further across the back trams went up and down the road.

We didn’t live there long but I remember 4 events that occurred before we moved. The first was a woman with a sturdy Silver Cross type pram who was bumping her baby/pram up the stairs when the unsecured baby fell out and hit his head on the stone steps. The second was an over-sized teddy of mine which had seen better days. For some reason my mother threw it out and, as I watched out the window boys rescued it and ran off with their new playmate. The third was the time my father got up early for work and was so tired that when he was getting washed at the sink he pulled it off the wall when he leant on it. Chaos! Finally there was some child knocked down by one of those trams and the adults talked in hushed tones.

So poverty and hardship, certainly, and yet we had a telephone, a coal bunker and a television. Not bad for an impoverished life.

Photos

From Darkness

16 years after leaving the force Anne Marie Duff’s character is pulled back in to a cold case when the bodies of sex workers are found trussed up “like meat”. As if that weren’t enough fresh meat has been found to show that the murderer is still at large. Not only is (s)he still at large the officer ID number she wore then has been found in the hands of the latest victim.

Leaving behind her husband and daughter on their teal-cast island idyll. Claire Church decides to go back and work with former colleagues, and new ones, against her better judgement. 4 bodies, 4 lines of investigation. The killer is still out there, goading Claire to capture him.

Scared of seeing the bodies, Claire is told in no uncertain terms that it is not the dead she should be scared of. She is sent with an Oxbridge fast track officer for protection to talk to the family of Mimi, a victim. He is not up to the job.

A stuffy hotel room only serves to remind Claire about how much she has left behind. A phone call from her husband makes it clear to us that Claire has been on medication to control mood for years, despite her husband thinking she had beaten her demons with running and solitude.

The horror of death in the morgue is mostly conveyed by extreme close-ups of Claire’s body parts juxtaposed with theirs. Only Claire spots differences between the latest victim and the cases years ago.

Beck – 302

Rum 302

Beck 302 opened with “bad Arabs” robbing a man, Peter Ahre, of his car and wallet at gunpoint closely followed by a very young girl’s corpse being discovered by a hotel maid next morning.

A new boss has joined the team – Klas – and he made it clear from the off that he was a “hands-on/foot on filing cabinet” sort.

There are two references to “not being afraid to get your hands dirty” within the first ten minutes.

The ex boyfriend of Denise was the first prime suspect but the first arrests are the Arabs seen holding up Peter at the start. They are pictured using drugs and the arrests cause riots in an immigrant enclave. The new boss makes obscure racist comments about Star Wars being better than Ali Baba.

As the episode continues it becomes apparent that things are far more complex than the original mugging suggested. Timelines or phone calls and credit card payments prove that things were not as they appeared and family dynamics are explored but at the heart of it all is loss and sorrow.

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