a refreshing French thriller full of seventies delights


Les Papillons Noirs (Netflix).

What series are you tipping this week, Mark?

The French thriller series Les Papillons Noirs (Netflix, six episodes). There are quite a few serial killer series on Netflix. What bothers me is that the messed-up guys get a bigger scene than they usually deserve, while the victims get off on bare feet – like footnotes in a serial killer’s biography. Les Papillons Noirsalso to be found under the English title Black butterfliesis a pleasant variation on this theme.

“The series is completely fictional, so it’s not like any case is revealed. The main character is a writer with a rather violent past. He once wrote a successful autobiographical book, but is now running into the dreaded writer’s block. He asks: what else should I say? At that moment he is approached by an elderly man. He wants to pay the author to have his life story written. Great, the writer thinks, then I won’t have to think about the blank pages in my novel.

‘The elderly man begins to tell his life story. It quickly turns out that his story is also a kind of confession. He and his then-girlfriend murdered a man in the 1970s after he attacked his girlfriend on the beach. The killing, which can be seen as a kind of self-defense, gave rise to a desire in the couple to kill more often, says the old man. The author begins to press the life story. His publisher says: you have gold on your hands, and think it is fiction. Meanwhile, we also follow a detective working on unsolved cases from the 1970s. You can already feel: these lines are going to meet.

‘I think it’s a pretty original way to get into a story like this. The memories of the old man are portrayed in a wonderfully exuberant way. You see colors that you associate with summers in the 1970s, such as bright orange and yellow. So the creators have looked very closely at genre films from the seventies, characterized by intense editing, contrasting colors and enthusiastic acting. It does Les Papillons Noirs to a cocktail of things that are completely different from what you are used to from American thrillers. You are being misled again and again. Yes, very entertaining.’

If deed. And then you want to talk about the last episodes of Rings of power and House of the Dragon.

‘Yes, two prequels that were supposed to build on the huge success of their predecessors Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. There is an incredible amount of money in both series, so there is a lot at stake for Amazon, who bought all the rights from the Tolkien heirs, and HBO, who are hoping for success with the prestige series Game of Thrones to continue.

‘Based on the first episodes, I wrote about both parts Rings of power whose House of the Dragon that it is still a bit of a wait and can go either way. Rings of power I thought it became more fun and interesting; you saw more and more how the storylines direction Lord of the Rings discs. After watching the last episode you think: now it can really begin. All players are known, the adventure opens.

‘From House of the Dragon the tenth and final part was shown last weekend. And the last episode was by far the best. Oh yeah, now I understand the rush we took in all those episodes, I thought. Earlier I wrote that I had difficulty with the story of House of the Dragon takes place in one place and within one family. As a viewer, you often sit at a table with people, at a banquet, in a hall. In short, not much happens. Whereas my feeling is: you have to go out, be on your way, there has to be danger from elsewhere – that’s what fantasy is about. Fortunately, the last episode is more about the entire western continent Game of Thrones, the view is expanded. It makes me curious again’.

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