Wallander-Series 1-Yellow Bird Films
(Nb. i forgotten i had written this-see above for updated information on how to find these series now)
So as my Xmas notes of 2013 related, I discovered by chance this mysterious channel 100 on Virgin media TV: called: On Demand Preview. It was only seeing an ad for the original The Bridge on it hat i realised you could watch old series on it, unlike the title described. So i set to and discovered all sorts on there: including The Bridge, Maison Close 1 & 2 and then Wallander.
I didn’t want to get too excited too early as i knew i had missed some early episodes of Wallander but was not sure exactly which ones or what series.
However, on delving into series 1 having checked the descriptions of Series 2 and ticked that one off as having seen: I have discovered that apart from # 1 episode Before The Frost having a familiar story, episode #2 & episode #3, The Brothers, are unknown to me. Hip hip hurray!
I have come to the conclusion from watching several different actors play Wallander (see my comparisons here of British Wallander and write up of Rolf Linquist as Wallander) that there are only so many Wallander stories. #1 episode of Series 1 was definitely familiar yet this must have been repeated in Series 2. Confusing.
So here is Wallander, younger, slightly chirpier and fitter. Happier too, since his beloved daughter Linda is
there. Indeed Linda has deliberately asked to come to Ystaad to work as a newly qualified Policewoman so she can be near Wallander.
Ebbe the receptionist is there too, as sharp and as solicitous of Kurt as ever. Svartman and Martinson, not
looking much different. We see the first arrival of Stefan. Nyborg is slightly less bald.
Wallander goes for a check up with his Doctor who is pleased with him, Wallander has either given up smoking or doesn’t smoke perhaps on Doctor’s orders. Unlike his stress induced crafty smokes in Series 2.
When Linda first arrives and applies to be a Detective Wallander fusses and nags her mercilessly. Telling Linda it will overtake her life, Detective work, she shouldn’t burrow down into this “Rat’s hole” because she will come out of it thirty years later and realise that half her life has gone. Wallander also worries over Linda’s safety and tries to protect her on the job in a true Dad like manner.
However Linda rebuffs all this concern and forebodings of doom and gradually her Dad backs off. As Wallander sees Linda can take care of herslef and is an excellent and free thinking Detective. Much like himslef in fact.
Anyway. Linda is often / always striding off on her own, after obscure clues and putting herself in possible
danger. Still, she always triumphs.
I spot some recurrent themes in Series 1 that appear in Series 2:
The Swedish army, weird and not quite so wonderful deaths, great big country houses belonging to rich people, a house by the windswept sea. Dreadful revenge taken for past crimes that have to be uncovered to solve the mystery: names on a list.
Then there is:
A beautiful woman that Kurt has a connection with: either past or present. The concerned neighbour who reports something amiss. The big apartment blocks, the pristine and efficient hospitals.
The social collectivism, the calmness, the patience,the forbearance of the Swedes. The functioning of the
This is the Kurt before even more suffering. The tragedies. I would have said suffering but Kurt is sensitive to gore and violence. Each time there is a particularly horrific death, Kurt is visibly shaken and upset and sometimes wonders off on his own to sit on a park bench, in the snow.
Or Wallander stops his car suddenly in the dark, driving home and gets out for air, looking down at a rushing stream from a bridge. Don’t fall! Kurt, I was mentally chiding him, your phone might get lost and you would be there for hours, in the cold Swedish night. But Kurt returns safely, to his car and Maria Callas singing on the stereo. When Linda asks if he is OK, living on his own, Kurt says “of course, me and Maria are fine”.
Kurt, shell shocked from the particularly jam like remains of a man (squashed under a tank) fails to return a small boy’s ball, telling him:
“You can’t play football in the snow!” The boy smiles back at him and says:
“You can always play football!”
Indeed. Kurt comes to from his shocked state and smiles. he gets up happily and gives the ball a jolly good kick.
We see the red ball fly high, into the winter air and freeze framed. Kurt is back. This is how the episode
Oh and we also see Kurt once in a while asking a suspect if they did it! This doesn’t happen a lot in Detective dramas.
Since watching those decribed i watched more episodes i found i missed. I found out why and how Linda Wallander has to start wearing glasses in a truly terrifying episode consisting of the boiled down distilled elements of classic horror. All it takes is the dark really and one unseen perpetrator. Your imagination, as Hitchcock said, fills in the rest. The imagination being afar more horror filled entity than anything purely mechanical or visual put before us.
When i started right from episode 1, series 1, i was at first surprised at just how slight the drama was. When i was aware of what wealth of detail and depth i now associated with Wallander. Really, not as lot happens, much, for quite some time in these early episodes. Yes, there are murders. There are clues. There is the solving. However the action and indeed the scenery are sparse. The main characters, relatively few.
There is the Police Station, which in this series we interestingly see Wallander and his team move into or either get a brand new design.
Linda is a main character in this series. Her relationship with her father, Wallander is central. However i came to the conclusion as Series 1 progressed: that the depth of the characterisations that are built up over time is mainly down to the consummate acting of Wallander. As the lynchpin and anti-hero to all. Anti as in humble and self deprecating throughout but still as deadly as a ninja.
Wallander is essentially acted and performed like a stage play. On screen. That is the secret of its excellence. Not just by Wallander. All the characters bring to Wallander the art of theatre.
Wallander episodes could, apart from the outside scenes, be played on stages with barely any props. Wallander is built up over time in this way, as if the first few episodes were opening scenes. It is a testament to the actresses and actors involved that they all build up their characterisations over time.
For me, these Wallander Series are a work of art.
According to my information there is a Wallander Series 3, Yellow Bird films, coming to BBC4. Yes, i think it is Wallander, Henrik Kristersson himself, since the series is based on The Troubled Man and other original stories from Henning Mankell. Although he said he would be doing no more Wallander, Henrik Kristersson did do The Troubled Man, i believe it was first a film and a stage play.
I think that The Troubled Man is Wallander’s later life and must take up on where the last series left off:
When Wallander was on a train to Stockholm, in the vain hope that he would join up with his beloved, Katrina…