Italian Noir: The Story of Italian Crime Fiction

It is programming like this that makes the BBC such an outstanding cultural institution. Don’t miss.

Timeshift profiles a new wave of Italian crime fiction that has emerged to challenge the conventions of the detective novel. There are no happy endings in these noir tales, only revelations about Italy’s dark heart – a world of corruption, unsolved murders and the mafia.

The programme features exclusive interviews with the leading writers from this new wave of noir, including Andrea Camilleri (creator of the Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) and Giancarlo De Cataldo (Romanzo Criminale), who explains how his work as a real-life investigating judge inspired his work. From the other side of the law, Massimo Carlotto talks about how his novels were shaped by his wrongful conviction for murder and years spent on the run from the police.

The film also looks at the roots of this new wave. Carlo Emilio Gadda (That Awful Mess) used the detective novel to expose the corruption that existed during Mussolini’s fascist regime and then, after the Second World War, Leonardo Sciascia’s crime novels (The Day of The Owl) tackled the rise of the Sicilian mafia. These writers established the rules of a new kind of noir that drew on real events and offered no neat endings.

Also featuring Italian writers Carlo Lucarelli and Barbara Baraldi, the film uses rarely seen archive from Italian television.

1 thought on “Italian Noir: The Story of Italian Crime Fiction”

  1. This is an excellent documentary featuring some of the great Italian crime writers. Each country has a crime-genre, and this documentary shows that in a fundamentally corrupt society there is no justice, thus the crimes aren’t resolved — they are exposed, but not prosecuted. The music is superlative — and a list of the featured works can be found on the BBC Timeshift website.There are other documentaries in the Noir series, and all worth watching. The Scandinavian Noir is very good given the long list of new crime novels emerging there.

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