The Winds Of Lent
Set in the heart of Cuba’s capital Havana, Four Seasons In Havana is a well written Spanish noir series based on a set of books called “The Havana Quartet”. With four episodes at 90 minutes each, Four Seasons’ episodes play out like individual feature length movies with unconventional Mario Conde (Jorge Perugorría) as the focal point for much of the run time. Boasting slick editing and some truly beautiful cinematography, Four Seasons is an impressively artistic crime series.
Each episode follows a familiar set up with the opening couple of minutes used to set the scene and introduce the potential victim of the episode. What follows is an investigation spanning multiple suspects, locations and main investigator Conde playing the anti-authority detective in charge of solving the case. Toward the end of each episode a well written reveal is presented with some impressive editing cutting between the events in the past and the guilty party’s confession that may or may not be accurate depending on who’s telling the tale. For the most part Four Seasons works well with this format although the second episode, Picture Perfect, is much more unconventional compared to the other three, diving deep into Conde’s past to reveal more about his character.
Working alongside Conde is his exasperated partner Sgt. Manolo Palacios (Carlos Enrique Almirante) who does a decent job in a supporting role balancing out Conde’s eccentric and unconventional approach to policing with a more conventional approach to each case. The various other characters including Conde’s boss Major Antonio Rangel (Enrique Molina) accentuate his rebellious attitude too although Conde’s outdated views toward sexuality and women may well irk those expecting a more politically correct detective. Of course, this realistic portrayal of a man with strong ideals makes the character much more authentic but it’s also worth noting as some may well be turned off from this particular trait to his persona. It’s certainly worth persevering with Conde’s character though and although initially appearing to be a one-dimensional anti-hero, Conde eventually evolves to become a much more rounded character with multiple layers of empathy and some believable dialogue to back up every scene.
There’s a real noir feel to Four Seasons In Havana too and a lot of this is driven through the excellent use of music and beautiful visuals. From lounge Jazz to authentic Cuban music driven by influences of Flamingo and Salsa, the four episodes never fail to impress with the array of music accompanying the investigations. The various establishing shots of the city are nothing short of majestic either and really show off the beauty of Cuba’s capital. The various camera shots used here too giving a real artistic feel to every episode and allow for some interesting choice of angles to be used during key scenes.
Four Seasons In Havana is a really well written Spanish crime noir series that perfectly captures the breathtaking beauty of Cuba. Conde’s character progression is believably paced and despite the four episodes acting as individual cases, the characterisation for each cast member spills across to every episode providing some much needed continuation throughout the show. The cases themselves are interesting, shrouded in mystery and polished off with a satisfying conclusion to each. Four Seasons may be formulaic in its approach to this genre but next to other crime noirs out there, Four Seasons’ unique setting and excellent writing make it one of the best and well worth checking out.
Verdict - 8.5/10