We have met at the 2011 Series Mania festival at Forum des Images the showrunners Hervé Hadmar and Marc Herpoux who have came to present their new series “Signature” (2011), a psychological thriller shot in Reunion Island.
A journalist, Daphné (Sandrine Bonnaire) arrives in Reunion Island. She wants to find a man who has disappeared for more than three months. But the one that she’s looking for is the last victim of Toman (Sami Bouajila), a fisherman who can neither read nor write…
With this French series of six episodes of 52 minutes, Hervé Hadmar and Marc Herpoux, have exiled themselves from mainland France to set their new story in the distant overseas territories. With, as headliners, Sami Bouajila (“Days of Glory”, “The Witnesses”) and Sandrine Bonnaire (“Could This Be Love?”, “La Cérémonie”), the slowness of their narration (as the rhythm of the islands?) might surprise.
Thus, while their previous opus (“Pigalle, la nuit”), the quest of the main character was known from the start (find his missing sister), in “Signature”, the goals of the characters remain very obscure in the first two episodes.
Toman, the character of Sami Bouajila, is an illiterate fisherman, with murderous drives — like the behavior of the protagonist of the American series “Dexter” — and animals drives — close to the character of the film “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” or the book “The Perfume”.
For her part, Sandrine Bonnaire portrays Daphné, a famous and hard metropolitan reporter who came to the island to find a mysterious stranger. So two animals who are going to meet.
A look on Reunion Island
Reunion Island is one of the few departments of France with no fictional face: no great movie, no TV drama has put his foot on the island — except maybe “Mississippi Mermaid” by François Truffaut shot in part over there —. To shot Reunion Island always results to shoot landscapes for tourists in need of escape. So it is with curiosity that we have a look at how these two authors would focus on the island in “Signature”.
If the issue of language is often a problem in France — the subtitle seems more and more banned on TV —, Reunion Creole is struggling to find its place in a story meant to be rooted in its society — a few minutes in episode 2 but maybe a little more in later episodes.
For the image, the shots were filmed with two cameras 35 mm and often with short focal length. The tight shots of scenes reconfigure successfully the island while the aerial shots graze the more conventional travelogue.
A TV series to follow
A little disappointed with their previous series, so we were waiting with curiosity this new series by Hervé Hadmar and Marc Herpoux. If the dimensions of fantastique and storytelling are always present, their ignorance of the island in comparison with Pigalle leaves a little feeling of incompleteness.
However, after the first two episodes of “Signature”, our interest remains and we will wait for more episodes before judging completely the work of two authors that we appreciate.
To be continued…
To learn more:
- “Signature” is broadcasted from Friday, April 22, 2011 on French channel France 2. The episodes will be available on the official website for seven days after
- The series has received the Special Mention of the Jury for a French TV series and the Best actor Award for Sami Bouajila at the 2011 Series Mania festival
Top 3 Cinema: "Blade Runner" (1982), "Breathless" (1960), "Casablanca" (1942)
Top 3 TV: "Spiral" (2005 -...), "The Wire" (2002-2008), "Twin Peaks" (1990-1991)