Getting hooked on a TV series is one of the things I enjoy about winter – and if I can improve my language skills while binge-watching, so much the better. La Mante proved just the ticket.
The six-part series first aired on TF1 last autumn, but I found it on French Netflix.
I don’t know if it is automatic or if I have done something in my settings, but I always get subtitles. So I watched the series in French, with French subtitles.
Seeing and hearing the dialogue really helps reinforce the words.
I downloaded all the episodes to my Kindle. Watching it while I was away from home, working in London, helped me feel as though I was still in France.
The title role belonged to the ever-beautiful former Bond girl Carole Bouquet.
La Mante – the mantis, in English – was the name given to serial killer Jeanne Deber by the media 25 years earlier. Now she’s helping the police solve a series of copycat killings.
She places a condition on her help, though: she should deal with one particular detective, Damien Carrot. He just happens to be her estranged son.
Although reluctant to re-establish a relationship with his mother, he relents because, frankly, he has no choice. A serial killer is on the loose in Paris.
I devoured the series.
“Watching it while I was away from home, working in London, helped me feel as though I was still in France”
Inevitably, of course, there twists and turns and red herrings aplenty. I won’t give away the dénouement in case you haven’t seen it.
However, I have to admit to being slightly disappointed when the identity of the serial killer was revealed.
There seems to be an unspoken agreement among film makers that certain types of people must always be villains. Germans, for example, are almost invariably baddies on screen – and since Joan Collins walked onto the set of Dynasty in 1981, the same goes for the English.
The killer is neither German nor English in La Mante, but they do fit another cinematic stereotype.
Nevertheless, the series helped me over a few cold winter nights. And I’ve just bought the third series of the Anglo-French drama The Tunnel – that should see me though nicely until spring.