Andrea Camillieri died last year, leaving behind him a rich legacy of books featuring a Sicilian Inspector Montalbano. Each episode in the series is movie length and tells a complete story. Although the first episode was filmed in the 1990’s (remember those years?), clothing and story line don’t seem particularly dated. There’s even a flip phone! Film quality could be a little crisper, but the cinematography captures much of the beauty of Sicily. Food is a major character in the books and in this series as well, so eat before or while watching. Because the series was made for Italian television, and because Camillieri brought a political sensibility to his work, the plot and characterizations in addition to the standard mystery elements, reflect the cultural tensions between Northern and Southern Italy.
I found this quote about the secondary actors : “These actors are profoundly Sicilian–either they were born there or they’ve performed the plays of great and even minor Sicilian playwrights. You just have to look at closeups and you feel and smell the taste of Sicily.”
One of the appeals for me was the hope that I would build on my eternal beginner level Italian comprehension skills. But keeping up with the plot and forcing myself to not read the subtitles proved an impossible task. So I just relaxed and enjoyed watching, hoping that at least I–a could pick up on the Sicilian gestures–a never ending source of fascination and suggest you do so as well.
(MHz is one of those mystery channels that Amazon Prime offers for $7.99 a month. You can get a thirty day free trial, which is what I did. but if anyone knows any other source, let me know!)