Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Gli arancini di Montalbano


I haven't read the short story, as yet untranslated into English, on which this episode of the Italian Commissario Montalbano television series is based, but in some ways it's the most faithful to its source of the six I've seen.

One strength of Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano novels is their consistent articulation of a set of themes, and this episode, based on the story "Gli Arancini di Montalbano" ("Montalbano's Croquettes") highlights some of the most important.

Its politics duplicate Camilleri's political barbs. It weaves a comic dilemma through the tale, at each step heightening the humorous stakes for the harried protagonist. Most important, it captures the poignance of the series' best books. Resolution of its central crime reminds me, as especially poignant crime stories will, of the famous line from Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game: "You see, in this world, there is one awful thing, and that is that everyone has his reasons."

Watch the climactic scene, without subtitles, of "Gli Arancini di Montalbano" here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

Labels: , , , , , ,

26 Comments:

Anonymous kathy d. said...

Thanks for reminding me to put on reserve some of Andrea Camilleri's books, been meaning to do this.

Great opening scene.

Wish that Donna Leon's series, which is on German tv, were available in English. Watching this on YouTube in German just doesn't cut it. (Knowing some Yiddish helps a bit, but not enough.)

But since switching to the Scandinavians, have neglected mysteries set in Italy; must remedy that.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Those aerial shots are common to all the episodes. So is the music, which I enjoy. The Web site of the Italian RAI network has several episodes available free and in full, though without subtitles. These might be worth watching, if only to get the flavor of the performances.

The series is available on DVD from MHz Networks in Virginia. And I recommend the books highly.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Simona said...

This is the episode when one sees Adelina and I remember realizing that my mental image of her was totally different from what you see in the movie. It was very funny. We know things about Adelina from reading the books: her cooking, her troubles sons, her dislike for Livia, but not what she looks like. Reading the story makes you want to learn to make arancini from Adelina.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I also had a very different mental picture of Adelina. I had somehow pictured her as a small, thin and nervous, probably because she seems excitable in the notes she leaves for Montalbano. Yes, she prepares the arancini lovingly for that New Year's Eve feast.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger gzuroski said...

Thank you for sharing the video clip. I read in some of your earlier posts that you were watching these. Do you speak Italian? Are they available with subtitles.

I appreciated your comment on my "gregsbookwagon" blog about the culinary satisfactions of reading Monatalbano and now I am thinking of arancini!

One more reason I regret not being able to read Italian well is that I am very curious about Catarella's dialect in the books and perhaps in the TV shows. The translator, Stephen Sartarelli, gives him such a distinct style in English, something like a comic Brooklyn accent from 1940's era gangster movies. What's it like in Italian?

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't speak Italian, but the shows are available with English subtitles in Australia and, in the United States, from MHz Networks in Virginia.

Sartarelli has much to say about Camilleri's language, including Catarella's. An Italian professor has written a book about Sartarelli's translations Camilleri. I wrote about the book here.

If you like Camilleri and food, you might like Simona's Briciole site.

March 04, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, on a damn cold, albeit sunny, day here in Dublin, watching that clip makes me think seriously about relocating to warmer climes.

BTW, I can't remember seeing embedded videos in your posts before, but perhaps I wasn't paying attention.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Montalbano's beach house would make your desire to relocate even stronger.

I may have embedded a video or two before, but this blog is devoted to the published, written words, so I try to keep such fripperies to a minimum.

March 04, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, I congratulate you on your sparing use of embedded videos. Some blogs I've come across seem to consist of little other than such videos. They become intolerable after a while.

The personal, literate touch serves you well.

March 04, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, thanks to RAI I have seen Montalbano's beach house. I'm booking my ticket now.

However, those Sicilian's intimacy with death does give me a little pause!

v-word: kilkfi

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I thought I might have posted a clip of Luke Kelly singing "Rocky Road to Dublin" with the Dubliners in 1976, but even there I contented myself with a link.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You can stay at Montalbano's house. It's a bed and breakfast, though further along Sicily's south coast rather than in the southwest, where the rest of the series is shot.

One might assume that Sicilians might have a greater familiarity with death, both because of the island's reputation for violence and perhaps because it has not always been the most advanced area of Italy, at least not since the Middle Ages. But I don't know whether this is the case.

March 04, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Don't widows in Sicily wear black for the rest of their lives even if their husbands died when they were in their twenties or thirties?

March 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I may have read in novels and stories of widows wearing black for some time, but I don't know about all their lives. But I've never been to Sicily and I don't know much about customs there. I bet some of my neighbors would know, though.

March 05, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Inspector Montalbano would know.

March 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I missed a chance to ask him, or at least the actor who plays him. The actor, Luca Zingaretti, gave a performance in New York a few months ago -- not as Montalbano, alas.

March 05, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Any suggestions for finding these shows on the RAI network?

A friend of mine, who does speak and read Italian, spent hours on that site, and found other police/detective shows to watch, but couldn't find the Inspector Montalbano series.

Thanks a lot for the advice.

March 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Go here, and click "Rivedi i Film TV."

March 06, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Thanks for this. My friend was up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, happily watching Inspector Montalbano. He understands Italian.

And he saved $157 by watching it online instead of purchasing the dvd's.

March 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I hope I cost you and your friend no sleep, though Montalbano is a good reason to stay awake.

March 07, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

No sleep lost. The friend is an early riser. However, he watched Montalbano instead of writing something on deadline. That's the dilemma we mystery readers/watchers have.

However, when he couldn't access the Montalbano episodes at first on RAI Network, he watched other cop/detective shows in Italian. And I had to hear every detail of the plots, one very complicated, with moral dilemmas.

No harm done.

March 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

However, he watched Montalbano instead of writing something on deadline.

I have probably watched or read a time or two when I should have been writing something on deadline, so your friend gets a pass from me. For that matter, he also gets a pass for detouring to other Italian cop and detective shows.

MHz Networks, which sells the Montalbano series in the U.S., also offers DVDs of other Italian shows. I’m open to recommendations from your knowledgeable friend.

March 08, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I don't know. He went to the RAI network website and clicked on tv detective shows and watched what he found.

March 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In that case I'll take another look at the site and maybe give myself some enjoyable Italian lessons.

March 11, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

He says Montalbano's Italian is kind of a conglomeration of dialects, that it's a hybrid and his own thing.

March 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In that case, the shows may be faithful to the books. Camilleri's English translator says much the same thing about the language of the Montalbano novels and stories.

March 12, 2010  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home