Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Show me the devil...

Salem by Sydney Curnow Vosper, 1908 
I watched the first installment of another great tv series from the UK the other day. This one, Hinterland (or Y gwyll) is set in Wales and, yes, features a haunted detective (who have become their own genre). My husband and I were particularly caught up in our viewing because we've been to Aberystwyth where much of Hinterland is set. But it was the story that kept us watching.

The action begins with the disappearance of an older woman, Miss Jenkins, from her home. The police are called in to investigate because of the scene of "carnage" left behind (LOTS of blood). We learn Miss Jenkins had once run a home for wayward children and, eventually, we discover it wasn't a homey place of refuge. Religious fervor and corruption left scars on most of the children who grew up there.

A key location for this episode is the Devil's Bridge, a stunningly evocative and dangerous ravine with a legend. The nearby hotel, once Miss Jenkins childrens' home, is also...atmospheric. And then there's the framed prints of a painting known as Salem that kept cropping up. This paining depicts an older woman in traditional Welsh dress as she moves through a church. Secreted away within the folds of her shawl is the face of the Devil! Try as we could we had problems seeing it. When we both decided what it was that made up the Devil's face I was somewhat disappointed it wasn't more...devil like. I was not, however, disappointed in the story.

Aberystwyth promenade, Dec 2006 - by me
The key to Hinterland is the landscape: beautiful, forbidding and secretive, it becomes a character in its own right. "The sense of place is crucial," says Talfan. "It feels like a part of the UK that is untapped and undiscovered." Thomas adds: "It's a part of Wales that had not been photographed, a sort of last place somewhere in the northern part of Europe that people don't know much about – a hinterland rich in history and myth." Source