There are genres that define particular historical moments of entertainment production, including cinema, TV series and recently also audio series: in recent years, for example, the true crime genre has experienced an unprecedented development.
Podcasts such as Serial and documentaries such as the Netflix Making a Murderer production have made the titles so popular that, based on really happened crimes (even if often so unusual or imaginative to challenge any part of the imagination), they make a detailed reconstruction of the events, choosing routes different expressive: there are some that reconstruct everything with actors, still looking for careful fidelity to the facts, and others that intertwine the reconstruction with reports, real documents, testimonies. Here are some suggestions among the most interesting events coming out or recently released.
1. TRUTH BE TOLD
The original production Truth Be Told , based on the novel by Kathleen Barber Are You Sleeping, is making its debut on Apple TV + on December 6, which is a kind of meta-literary reflection on the true crime genre, demonstrating its maturity in some way. Declaring that he was inspired by the Serial podcast, in fact, Barber created a story featuring Poppy Parnell, a reporter passionate about crime stories who decides to create a podcast in which he talks about the following cases. The audio series immediately became a success but the woman found herself too involved from the crimes he has to deal with.
In the series, to play Poppy is the Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer (The right to count , The shape of water) who is here to deal with the case of Warren Cave (played by Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad), a prisoner accused of killing two twins, whose face is Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex, Castle Rock). The protagonist will therefore find herself faced with the difficult task of establishing where the truth lies, questioning the actual guilt of Warren but above all having to try to keep an objective glance on the matter while those who have framed the man could put it in danger.
2. DIRTY JOHN
Perhaps the first of episodic adaptations from a podcast, or Dirty John by Christopher Goffard, this series available on Netflix tells a true story of sick and violent love. In fact, it follows the story of John Meehan, a man apparently normal, indeed charming and thoughtful, who succeeds with his qualities in winning over a rich Californian entrepreneur, Debra Newell, who has long been searching for a soul mate. Meehan, who pretends to still be an anaesthesiologist but actually hides dark secrets in his past, manages to conquer the woman and infiltrate the most intimate meanders of her life.
Driven by the doubts instilled by her daughters, Debra begins to doubt the strange attitudes of her partner and gradually discovers a reality from which, however, she can no longer escape unless at the cost of great sacrifices. The series tells this story all too real (and in some ways even common) in a sometimes glossy way, but the interaction between the two main actors, Eric Bana and Connie Britton, give life to a convincing representation. A second season, entitled Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story and based on a bloody and much-talked-about divorce, is currently in the works.
3. IL MOSTRO DI UDINE
In this first Italian true crime documentary, made by Crime Investigation and available on Sky On Demand , one of the most intricate but also forgotten unsolved cases in the Italian crime news is told. In the three episodes, Matteo Lena and Francesco Agostini tell with the style of the real investigation the story linked to the killing from 1971 to 1989 of more than nine women , found brutally mutilated in the country roads around Udine. By merging direct testimonies, factual reconstructions and archival materials, we try to retrace the dynamics of those murders but also the modalities of the investigations that have reached a dead end.
In fact, at the time, a number of elements had thought that the murderer was a very specific person , even if various circumstances prevented him from proceeding with a real indictment. However, after decades, inconsistencies and new details have given rise to new hypotheses. After the documentary was aired last May, the case returned to the attention of the Udine prosecutor’s office at a turning point that could finally bring the light back to one of the darkest pages of Italian news.
4. FARINA: COCAINE COAST
Fariña is an original Spanish production available on Amazon Prime Video, based on the eponymous essay by journalist Nacho Carretero which deals with the story of Sito Miñanco, one of the most famous tobacco smugglers and drug traffickers in Spanish history. Born as a humble fisherman, José Ramón Prado Bugallo (this is his real name) soon became an inveterate criminal, setting up a smuggling organisation called ROS; arrested for the first time in the early eighties for illicit cigarette trade, he jailed in contact with the Medellín cartel and, once released, threw himself into the most profitable drug trafficker.
Thanks to the proceeds of its illicit activities, in the Nineties Sito Miñanco builds the public image of a philanthropist and a new Robin Hood, buying a local soccer team which raises the fortunes and completing other charitable acts, before being arrested in 2004 . The incredible adventure of this hardened criminal (he was released from prison in 2015 and arrested again for smuggling in 2018) is at the centre of this production halfway between Narcos and La casa di carta.
5. INQUANTO DONNE: STORIE DI ORDINARIA VIOLENZA
On October 25th , on the occasion of the Day against violence against women, Discovery Italy launched a series of two documentaries on its Dplay Plus streaming platform that reconstruct two dramatic events linked to female maltreatment. The first tells the story of Tiziana Cantone, the 31-year-old Neapolitan who resorted to suicide after having suffered a very heavy psychological lynching campaign, especially online after her erotic video ended up on the web against her will. His case has become exemplary in dealing with crucial contemporary issues such as revenge porn and the right to be forgotten .
In The Story of Alba, Chiara Baroni, on the other hand, reconstructs a crime that took place in an apparently quiet village on the shores of Lake Maggiore and that for decades has been wrapped in a cloak of guilty justification . When the young Alba Chiara leaves her ever-boyfriend Matteo Stanga, in fact, he kills her and then shoots himself too: to the story of femicide, however, the country begins to inexplicably contrast the theory of passion crime, somehow killing the poor victim a second time .