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Parfum Review 2018 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Friederike Becht, Natalia Belitski, August Diehl
Review: The great crime series “Parfum” is the continuation of Patrick Süskind by other means. And the proof that German television can now compete with the competition from America.
“In the eighteenth century a man lived in France, one of the most ingenious and abominable figures in this era, which was not inferior to genius and vile figures. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. ” This is how Patrick Süskind’s novel” The Perfume “begins , and the main character is introduced to Tom Tykwer and Bernd Eichinger’s film adaptation. The camera then sweeps over to Süskind’s lines (“At that time there was a stench hardly imaginable in the cities for us modern people”) on the market of medieval Paris and stops at a pile of fish waste, where Grenouille’s mother has left her newborn.
The “perfume” TV series, produced by Oliver Berben for Constantin, is not aimed at the synaesthesia of seeing and smelling – but at smelling and feeling, at the manipulability of emotions. At the beginning you see a naked woman climbing into a pool, and when the credits are over, she lies stretched out beside the pelvis, strangling, nippling the skin everywhere where hair grows. A woman kneels by the body and takes notes, and behind her are four men watching her. Welcome to the present, welcome to the murder investigation, welcome to the Lower Rhine.
The processing of successful books and feature films to Episodendauerwurst belongs in our mass era to the tools of scriptwriters. It’s about using imported brands and amortizing investments. When Eichinger received the “perfume” rights of Süskind after 15 years of insistence, he is said to have beaten Kubrick, Polanski, Scorsese and Spielberg out of the field, but also paid an exorbitant sum.
Series offenders have the task of creating from the body parts of the original story a new body, as it should have done the alchemist, theologian and physician Johann Konrad Dippel of Frankenstein, who lived a few tens of kilometers upstream of the pool find, 200 years before. The new hairdresser is called Eva Kranenburg, it is her first filmed screenplay. But she does not mess with her writing hands: yes, the spirit of Grenouille hovers over the homicide on the Lower Rhine. But it is a free spirit.
The movement that inscribed Kranenburg in its history is opposite to that of the book: it does not run from the perpetrator to his victims, but from the investigator to the perpetrator. In that sense, it is more compatible with crime thriller Germany, and soon it has more than enough suspects, four men and a woman – embodied by August Diehl , Ken Duken , Christian Friedel, Trystan Putter and Natalia Belitski – who died 20 years ago with the murdered Boarding school were. Each of them could have done it or all together. Or none.
In the fog of alternative facts
Süskind’s book was a mix of many genres, a novel of development and education and of artists, a history painting – and not least a thriller, which Kranenburg is now referring to. The longer the television “perfume” progresses, the more a genre, however, which is not inherent in Süskind, shifts to the foreground: the horror novel. No other film immerses the Carnival-happy Lower Rhine (was filmed around Cologne and Hamm and in the High Fens in the Eifel) in such a bath of gloom as “perfume” (without “that”).
Cars glide through the cloudy empty landscape, and the camera makes them and their inmates even more insignificant from a bird’s-eye view; the public prosecutor’s office ( Wotan Wilke Möhring ) is located on the first floor, under which there is no ground floor but only pillars; one expects to see him and his commissioner plunging into the depths. The romance was a reaction to the Enlightenment, and this “perfume” acts like a burning mirror of our time, which is again throwing ratio and logic overboard. The fog surrounding investigator Nadja Simon (Friederike Becht) and her forensic exactness of committed colleagues – literally and figuratively – is also our fog of conspiracy theories and alternative truths.
Hardly a figure that does not lose the ground under their feet, you could overwrite each episode with “Growing Despair”. The people in the horror novel no longer follow reason, slip away from social conventions, surrender to the irrational, the destructive. Similarly, the characters of contemporary “perfume” in their characterless villa and office architectures. They lost their innocence before, in a boarding-school, and especially in a place like Mary Shelley’s or ETA Hoffmann’s novels: a ruined, mist-shrouded castle ruin.
There is an unfilmed screenplay by Eva Kranenburg, for which she received the Tankred Dorst Award, “The memorable experiences of my father”. In it, a public prosecutor in the mid-forties (like Möhring) is plagued by nightmares, two decades after his father’s suicide, and he has to figure out the crime his father committed forty years ago and what kind of hunger really drove him. “ETA Hoffmann meets Stieg Larsson,” said the Dorst jury, and their dictum fits both on Kronenburg’s first as well as her second book, it is about lunatic hunger and the artful defoliation of the past.
This is where the second great discovery of “perfume” comes into play. The director Philipp Kadelbach is 43 years and television director for ten years, including “Our mothers, our fathers” and the English series “SS-GB”, where the Nazis won the war. Kadelbach shies the limelight, but that will be harder for him now. For a long time there has not been a film so consistent in mood and rhythm in Germany; his pictures do not point to their own brilliant surface, but are in the service of an inner narrative necessity.
Kadelbach uses a kind of shashlik tactic, he cuts many thin action discs in a row, without playing the scenes. The dissolution he delivers later, sometimes en passant, when we are on tiptoe for a while. He keeps the viewer in permanent limbo. This is Kadelbach’s cadence, which runs in parallel with a second, the constant change between the present and the boarding school, which is characterized by grainy pictures.
And then there is – what is “still”, rather “above all”: Friederike Becht, who at first glance reminds of Morticia Addams of the Addams Family. You can see them relaxed and happy smiling in the course of 300 minutes. The rest is seriousness, intensity, self-assertion and – yes, even with her – growing existential desperation.
The profiler who plays Becht is not one of the “crime scene” commissioners who have been neatly quilted, for their inner hell corresponds to purgatory around them: the only one who shows a spark of human decency is the owner of a brothel that sticks out of the industrial area like a solitaire. He is played by Trystan Pütter, like Marc Hosemann a castaway of Castorfs from the Berlin politics of ruined Volksbühne, and the two are as brilliant as the whole adult cast; Only with the alleged child actors from boarding school time one has the feeling that they are too old for 13- to 15-year-olds.
A bottle full of lust
Pressured by the new quality of American series, the German television landscape has also taken a beating: “Babylon Berlin”, “Dark” and “Germany 83” are in no way inferior to the English-speaking competition, and “perfume” is even one step away ahead, because the series does not follow the now quite predictable Netflix or Amazon patterns, but develops a highly specific own storytelling technique.
The crux of many series is now developing its length. They are stretched on more squadrons, according to the economic requirement to squeeze the maximum from an established brand, than it does their story good. Süskind never wrote a sequel, how could he have surpassed his conclusion, when Grenouille first saved himself from being executed with a drop of his perfume and then showered the whole bottle to be mangled in an orgy of voluptuous affection.
To write down against is almost hopeless, but Eva Kronenburg’s end leaves you with an open mouth, in shock and with many doors opening in our heads. The Constantin should leave it at that.
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