Rafael Azcona said that Italian cinema had lost its charm when the writers bought a car and stopped traveling by bus. They had lost their connection with the popular ways of understanding the world, that is, to understand themselves. And something of that had: there is I vitelloni (1953), of the great Fellini or Il sorpasso (1962), of the great Dino Risi to verify the virtues of public transport when it comes to telling a story without transcendent pretensions. Nevertheless that disconnection seems to remit, mainly in the Italian series.
Maltese (Sundance TV), which offered the first four episodes of its first season last Sunday, connects with that predilection for the criminals of Italian television and does so trying to find characters and dialogues attached to reality until the point that the fiction devised by Leonardo Fasoli and Maddalena Ravagli (both creators of Gomorra) and Gianluca Maria Tavarelli (one of the creators of Montalbano) could subtitle it: chronicle of a time and a country.
We are in 1976 and in Trepani, Sicily. The mafia begins to discover the financial advantages of heroin over the modest smuggling of tobacco. Years before, the great Francesco Rossi and his Le mani sulla città (1963), already explained the advantages of the alliance of real estate developers with local power. They are the requalifications, stupid!
Maltese pecks from here and there and assumes the already important heritage of the Camilleri -as a fan of our Vázquez Montalbán- Sciascia or Donna Leon and shows us the efforts of a commissioner who decides to return to his hometown to discover the perpetrators of the murder of his lifelong friend, the commissar Gianni, aided by a select group of inspectors so close to the useless Fellinians.
Naturally, and more in a good series that is committed to realism, could not miss the profitable relations between corrupt politicians, some unworthy representatives of justice and drug traffickers. Will there be a series one day Gürtel?