MHz Choice announced today its programming lineup for July 2021, which features a Nordic fantasy thriller, the return of French mystery favorites, and Sophia Loren.
It must be the case that time flies when you’re having fun, because how else did we get to the middle of the year already?
In any event, MHz Choice will kick off the second half of 2021 by bringing to streaming audiences in the US and Canada in July the Swedish fantasy thriller Hidden: Firstborn, the Italian biopic My House Is Full of Mirrors, starring Sophia Loren, a new season of the popular French mystery series The Art of Crime, more French feature films under the “Movie of the Week” banner… and the long-awaited second season of the French mystery-crime drama series Blood on the Docks! Chouette!
Hidden: First Born (Hidden: Förstfödd) (Sweden)
Set in modern-day Stockholm, this fantasy thriller revolves around the “Hidden” people — individuals who look like us and live amongst us, but who have superpowers, which they come to realize after suffering a trauma. Izabella Scorupco (Goldeneye) stars as Viveca Eldh, a former cop-turned-guardian and protector of the Hidden people. One amongst them is Jonas Hellemyr (August Wittgenstein, Das Boot), who is saved by Viveca when he gets in trouble after discovering his own extraordinary powers.
Based on Filip Alexanderson’s critically-acclaimed novel Firstborn (Förstfödd), the series costars Anders Mossling (Love Me), Eric Ericson (Alex), Gizem Erdogan (Caliphate), Lisa Linnertorp (The Bridge), Rolf Lydahl (Bäckström), Pia Tjelta (State of Happiness), Simon J. Berger (Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves), and Alexandre Willaume (Rita).
Arletty: A Guilty Passion (Arletty, une passion coupable) (France)
Set in German-occupied Paris during World War II, while filming is underway on Les Enfants du Paradis, this biopic-historical drama follows Arletty (Laetitia Casta, Arbitrage), a nonconformist actress who lives according to her desires rather than societal norms. When she falls under the charms of, and falls in love with, German officer Hans Jürgen Soehring (Ken Duken, Tempel), she must face the consequences of her actions — from being roundly condemned, to being imprisoned for treason.
Costars in the film include Marie-Josée Croze (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Joséphine Draï (The Art of Crime), Marc Citti (Kaboul Kitchen), Natalia Dontcheva (Murder in…), and Vincent Nemeth (Nicolas Le Floch).
The Art of Crime: Season 4 (L’art du crime) (France)
Nicolas Gob (A French Village, Chefs) and Eléonore Bernheim (Murder In…, Maigret) return as detective Antoine Verlay and art historian Florence Chassagne for another season of this popular and addictive mystery series. In the first of two two-part whodunits, the pair investigate the murder of an historian and avid Van Gogh enthusiast. The second finds them delving into a murder case at the Moulin Rouge, one in which an amnesiac cabaret dancer with a fascination for Toulouse-Lautrec is the prime suspect. (Video is from Season 3)
Guest stars in the two stories include Vincent Londez (Lupin) as Vincent Van Gogh and Bruno Solo (Blood on the Docks) as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
The King, the Squirrel and the Grass Snake: Part 1 (Le roi, l’écureuil et la couleuvre) (France)
This two-part historical drama centers on the life of 17th century French nobleman Nicolas Fouquet (Lorànt Deutsch, No Second Chance), who was the Superintendent of Finances under King Louis XIV (Davy Sardou, Victor Young Perez). In Part 1, Fouquet has realized his dream and built his own castle. Here he hosts a sumptuous banquet in honor of Louis XIV — with no clue about how the extravagant event is going to backfire on him.
Costars include Thierry Frémont (Das Boot) as First Minister of State Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Jean-Pol Dubois (The Princess of Montpensier) as Chief Minister Cardinal Mazarin, and Sara Giraudeau (The Bureau) as Fouquet’s wife, Marie-Madeleine.
My House Is Full of Mirrors (La mia casa è piena di specchi) (Italy)
Based on the memoir of Maria Scicolone, Sophia Loren’s younger sister, this autobiographical drama follows the stories of Sophia (Margareth Madè, Inspector Montalbano) and Maria (Gina Lapardhaja, Inspector Coliandro), whose paths in life could not be more different, as well as their mother, Romilda Villani, played by the Oscar winner herself, Sophia Loren (Two Women).
Costars in the limited series include Enzo De Caro (Bulletproof Heart) as the sisters’ father, Riccardo Scicolone, and Giovanni Carta (Mafia Only Kills in Summer) as producer Carlo Ponti, who would eventually become Sophia’s husband.
The King, the Squirrel and the Grass Snake: Part 2 (Le roi, l’écureuil et la couleuvre) (France)
In the second and final chapter of this historical drama, Louis XIV organizes with Colbert Fouquet’s arrest, which is carried out by the musketeer d’Artagnan (Laurent Natrella, An Officer and a Spy). As Fouquet languishes in the Bastille while awaiting trial, Jean de la Fontaine (Alban Casterman, Spiral), Madame de Sévigné (Carole Richert, House of Rocheville), and others of his supporters campaign on his behalf, but to no avail. Ultimately, the trial is a travesty of the judicial process, and Fouquet is forced to live out his days in prison.
Blood on the Docks: Season 2 (Deux flics sur les docks) (France)
After what feels like forever (in actuality, about six to seven years), Season 2 of Blood on the Docks will finally be available on this side of the Atlantic. Adapted from Graham Hurley‘s best-selling “Faraday and Winter” crime novels, this gritty cop drama follows inspectors Richard Faraday (Jean-Marc Barr, Bad Banks) and Paul Winckler (Bruno Solo, The Accident) as they battle criminals in the port city of Le Havre.
Season 2 finds the detectives and their colleagues investigating: two deaths that appear to be connected in several ways; the murder of an anesthesiologist and the abduction of a cosmetic surgeon who had worked together in the past; crimes in the wealthy and sporting circles of Le Havre, rather than on its docks; and the murder of a young priest and the discovery of a young black woman’s dead body. (Video is from Season 1)
Series regulars include Mata Gabin (Les petits meurtres d’Agatha Christie), Lisa Manil (Agatha Christie’s Family Murder Party), Emmanuel Salinger (A French Village), and Guillaume Viry (Amélie).
Stroke of Luck (Coût de chance) (France)
This drama stars Julie-Anne Roth (The Art of Crime) as Claire, a widowed single mother with two children and various odd jobs that barely bring in enough money for them to survive on. The threat of her children being placed into care looms large until Claire gets an offer she can’t refuse — one made after her son, Marius (Romann Berrux, Detectives), is hit by a car (but isn’t seriously injured).
In the vehicle were Michel Lacharrière (Yves Rénier, Dolmen) and his wife, Colette (Christiane Millet, Speakerine), a retired couple who, consumed by guilt over the accident, decide to help Claire by offering their guest house to her and her children. What Claire doesn’t realize is that, by accepting their offer, she is plunging into a different sort of downward spiral…
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