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Claus Mueller


Claus Mueller is a Film Festival Ambassador to filmfestivals.com

He is based in New York where he covers the festival scene.


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Baron Noir French series presented in 8 parts

The rapid addition of video streaming platforms has considerably expanded program viewing choices accessible to the internet audience. Netflix and Amazon have made a large number of foreign feature films, documentaries and television productions available and foreign series have increasingly become more prominent in their programs which are a mix of acquisitions and sometimes co-productions. Another new feature in the differentiated internet programming scene is subscription video on demand services which specialize in streaming foreign series. One outstanding example is the Walter Presents platform that carries fifty-one series from 16 countries, launching about one per week with the majority originating in European Union countries. They can be received on a subscription on the Walter Presents platform but are also on Amazon, the ROKU platform, Apple TV and on iPhone, iPad and Android devices for a monthly $6.99 fee. It is a joint venture between UK’s Channel 4 and the Global Series Network which carries the EU support logo. Crosschecking their programs, there is no question that Walter Presents offers carefully selected high quality series which appeal to an upscale and well educated cosmopolitan audience.

Among the outstanding examples of Walter Presents’ offerings is the French series Baron Noir presented in 8 parts and produced by Canal+, Studio Canal and Kwai.   On the occasion of its nomination for a 2017 International Emmy Award, New York’s French Institute / Alliance Francaise (FIFA) organized the U.S. premiere of Baron Noir. In a rapidly moving narrative this political drama depicts the fate of the French politician and Dunkirk deputy mayor Philippe Rickwaert who used funds from a housing project under his control for the presidential election campaign of the socialist candidate. Eventually legal court documents are released proving his involvement and challenging Rickwaert’s ability to survive. Baron Noir is a superb introduction to French high level power politics and the strategies used to gain or maintain powerful positions.  They involve corruption, bribery and deception, manipulation of groups, tradeoffs, circumventing prosecution, destruction of evidence, betrayal for a ‘higher’ cause, opportunism, double crossing enemies and friends, treason, and the suspension of moral values if they interfere with political objectives.  Though Baron Noir takes place in France many components of the political affairs depicted should be familiar to American viewers.

There are other political dramas, but Baron Noir is superior in virtually all aspects.  The script is first class, well paced, concise and to the point not having any superfluous elements and avoiding melodrama. The performances of the principals is sharp and outstanding. Kad Merad who played Rickwaert was nominated for the International Emmy acting awards.  Impeccable direction prevails as does excellent technical execution. Baron Noir shows that no special effects are needed to have a first class dramatic.

 

Claus Mueller    filmexchange@gmail.com

 

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