VAN VEETEREN Various directors/Arrow Following the welcome release of their Wallander ‘Original Films’ box set last year, Arrow Films have made available a less familiar Scandinavian detective for Nordic Noir admirers: Swedish crime maestro Håkan Nesser’s Van Veeteren. The first three Van Veeteren films have been released as a DVD box. Based on the much-acclaimed series of novels by the much-respected Nesser, Van Veeteren is an veteran detective in his sixth decade dealing uneasily with retirement (he has become an antiquarian bookseller), but unable to put aside his impeccable sleuthing instincts. Håkan Nesser has expressed himself pleased with the series (with the inevitable reservation or two), but like the books, characterisation is to the fore – and a particular asset of the films is the playing of Sven Wollter as the ageing detective – full of psychological nuance.
THE MURDERER LIVES AT 21 [L’ASSASSIN HABITE AU 21] Henri-Georges Clouzot, director/ Eureka Entertainment MASTERS OF CINEMA Blu-ray/DVD Eureka Entertainment have facilitated the long-awaited release of the debut film by director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s (responsible for the classic thrillers Les Diaboliques and The Wages of Fear), The Murderer Lives at 21 [L’Assassin Habite au 21]. The film is an intriguing is a brilliant hybrid of crime thriller and dark comedy. One of the key directors in world cinema, Henri-Georges Clouzot made a mark in 1942 with this sardonic thriller. A thief and murderer plagues the streets of Paris and is depositing a calling card from ‘Monsieur Durand’ at the scene of each crime. But then a cache of these cards is found by a burglar in the boarding house at 21 Avenue Junot, and Inspector Wenceslas Vorobechik (Pierre Fresnay) decides to stay at the address in a clandestine effort to solve the crimes, aided by his under-employed actress girlfriend Mila (played by Suzy Delair). The audacious shifts in tone (from light comedy to pitch-black noir) are handled with assurance by the director, as is as well as is understated but clear picture of tensions of France under German occupation.
ARNE DAHL Various directors/Arrow After the success of their BAFTA-winning Scandi series The Killing and Borgen, and the newly BAFTA nominated The Bridge, Arrow Film’s Nordic Noir label have released a DVD & Blu-ray box set release of the Swedish TV series, Arne Dahl, based on the series of books by influential Swedish crime novelist Jan Arnald (Arne Dahl is Arnald’s pen name), with CID inspector Jenny Hultin (her gender changed from the novels’ male copper) putting together an elite police team to tackle difficult and dangerous crimes. The 10-part series adapts five of Arnald/Dahl’s novels, each with a different member of “A-group” at the fore. This is a highly enjoyable series, if demonstrably not in the class of such Scandicrime hits as The Killing (Arne Dahl himself is aware that certain elements of his books have — perforce — been obliged to be removed), but it remains a solid effort even if it doesn’t reach the Olympian heights of some of its Nordic stablemates.