Netflix has a new original series, Four Seasons in Havana, based on the works of Leonardo Padura, a Cuban writer who specializes in crime and police procedural novels. The shows, four in all, are taken from Padura's works of fiction about Havana policeman Mario Conde, a fortyish detective who always intended to become a writer, and who continually questions his decision to become a policeman. Conde has a dangerous habit of falling into bed with women he meets while working his police cases.
The series was filmed in present day Havana.
I reviewed one of Padura's Mario Conde novels, Havana Red, in this space previously, and that novel is actually the basis of the third program in the series, an episode entitled "Mask." The film version is not only faithful to the novel, but it enhances the work with colorful street scenes and daily life from contemporary Havana.
Conde is played by Cuban actor Jorge Perugorria, and his sidekick, Manolo, is portrayed by fellow Cuban actor Carlos Enrique Almirante.
The only hiccough in viewing Four Seasons in Havana is that the shows were filmed in Spanish, and English subtitles tend to race by as the characters chatter excitedly. Viewers have to stay alert and focused in order to get the full measure of the programs and not miss any clues.
For those who would like to experience modern Havana without going to the expense and trouble of international travel, this crime noir series fills the bill. It features many expansive views of the city and spots frequented by tourists, as well as apartments, offices, and even back alleys that help to define and illuminate the lives of the people who reside in Cuba's capital city.
For this past visitor to Cuba, Four Seasons in Havana brought back an abundance of memories - and watching these shows was almost like being there!