Tuesday, 18 April 2017

LES PETITS MEURTRES D'AGATHA CHRISTIE: LE MIROIR SE BRISA (FRANCE 2)

Struck by a personal tragedy, Commissaire Swan Laurence is not at all in the mood to investigate a crime committed during the filming of the new movie starring Blanche Dulac

On the set he finds a bad remedy for his situation, while Alice Avril finds love with a crew member.
 
« Un mort sur le tournage de Blanche Dulac? Mais c'est merveilleux, Alice! »

Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie welcomes writers Jennifer Have and Zina Modiano and director Rodolphe Tissot (The Churchmen/Ainsi soient-ils) with Le miroir se brisa. This adaptation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novel The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side is the first of two new episodes filmed between October and December 2016. The fact that the big budget series had to leave its production base to build new sets elsewhere and a regrettable drop in the quality of the previous batch of episodes hurt neither its ratings nor its popularity. Les petits meurtres is a hit even in repeats! (1)

Last year saw an apparent reorientation of the Laurence/Avril/Marlène era of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie to something along the line of their predecessors Larosière and Lampion, hence less comedy and fast-paced banters. Le miroir se brisa keeps it that way with an interesting script and a good direction for a rather reassuring result. The life of Commissaire Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) falls apart when Dr. Euphrasie Maillol (2), his great love, dies in a plane crash. Devastated, the commissaire rejects the support of Marlène (Élodie Frenck), who remembers about her "Tonton Léon" (« Tonton Léon, suicidé au Paris-Brest. »)

« Alice détective. J'aime bien. »

Laurence treats the sympathy of Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) no better. Worse, he neglects his new case: Simone Maupin, the "Hand double" of movie star Blanche Dulac (the fabulous Anne Consigny), has been poisoned during the shooting of the latest film directed by Blanche's husband Marc Borel (Nicolas Briançon). Swan is particularly odious with his loyal secretary and even with the victim's son. He ends up accepting a very special prescription from Dr. Jacques Mentchikoff (Luc-Antoine Diquéro, impressive), the sinister personal physician of the actress. 

« Vous êtes mon ange blond, Marlène. »

Jennifer Have and Zina Modiano bring the main characters on new territories. Thankfully for Marlène, who reached her limits in Le cheval pâle. The writers allow Élodie Frenck a couple of touching moments, as Laurence's secretary goes undercover in the entourage of Blanche Dulac and meets the star's disabled young son. Samuel Labarthe is given the opportunity to explore another aspect of his character. And Blandine Bellavoir steals the episode thanks to the encounter of Alice with Fred, the set photographer played by Camille Rutherford.

Scriptwriters Jeanne Le Guillou and Bruno Dega brought back some life in Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie with Albert Major parlait trop. The enthusiastic work of Have and Modiano on Le miroir se brisa restores a bit of the series's greatness, damaged by the abysmal La mystérieuse affaire de Styles. The rest of the cast includes Alice Vial (Sylvia Franco), the excellent Cyril Gueï as pathologist Dr. Timothée Glissant, the talented Dominique Thomas (Tricard), Éric Beauchamp (Martin), François Godart (Robert Jourdeuil), Adeline-Fleur Baude (Simone), etc. 

Produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France. Sophie Révil is the producer. Main characters created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. Music composed by Stéphane Moucha. Swiss television RTS aired Le miroir se brisa ahead of French pubcaster France 2. The next episode is L'homme au complet marron (based on The Man in the Brown Suit), written by Thierry Debroux and directed by Rodolphe Tissot. The Laurence/Avril/Marlène era of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice under the title Agatha Christie's Criminal Games.

(1) http://www.programme.tv/news/audiences/173339-record-historique-en-prime-time-pour-france-5-avec-les-petits-meurtres-d-agatha-christie/
(2) Played by Natacha Lindinger in 3 episodes, here seen through stock shots.

This review will be revised ASAP.

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