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Braquo - Season 2 - Available on DVD/Blu-ray in the UK + suggestions on what to watch if you like the show

Braquo's second season (8 episodes) aired from April 29 to June 10 (Sundays at 10) on FX UK. I'm sorry for not reporting that information in time (not that many people would have cared, but still).

However, what I can report in time is that both season 1 and season 2 are now available on DVD & Blu-ray in the UK for three weeks (with English subtitles on both sets, obviously) !

Characteristics of the Blu-ray discs of Braquo :

- Video : AVC 1080i.
- Audio : French (DTS HD Master Audio 5.1).
- Subtitles : English ; English for the hearing impaired.

- Season 1 was released on April 30 (the day after season 2 premièred), you can have it for £16 on amazon.co.uk.
- Season 2 was released on June 18 (a week after season 2 ended), you can have it for £14 on amazon.co.uk.
- The box set of seasons 1 & 2 was released on June 18 as well and you can have it for £25 on amazon.co.uk.

And thus Braquo joins Engrenages as another Canal+ French-speaking original series that has made it across the Channel on TV and on DVD — Mafiosa and Pigalle la nuit are going straight to the US remake, they haven't aired in the UK (but since Mafiosa is still in production, it could happen ; Pigalle la nuit has ended in December 2009, it seems a bit late for foreign broadcasters to start paying interest). Btw, maybe Engrenages, which will come out on Blu-ray this fall in France, will get UK Blu-ray sets in 2013, so far it's only on DVD.

Soon a 3rd Canal+ series will join them on TV and in stores on DVD/BD in the UK. I'm not saying which one (I'll post a new article in 2 days), but since I know a lot of you (at least 3 readers) are wondering and can't wait to find out, here's a clue.

Now, for those of you who've enjoyed the 16 first episodes of Braquo and can't wait to see the final 8 episodes premièring in fall 2013, I have something to sustain you : here's the list of films the directors and writers of Braquo have done.

As it turns out, these guys (who all come from movies) all specialize in the kind of ruthless, gritty and violent drama portrayed on the show. Don't you worry, all these films are great - I haven't seen every single one but I trust the reviews I've read.

I only put links when the films are available with English subtitles. Fear not if you see amazon.fr popping up twice or thrice, it means neither amazon.co.uk nor amazon.com had the film with English subtitles but that the original French DVD/Blu-ray has English subtitles. When I put links to amazon.co.uk, it means it's not available on amazon.com. The opposite isn't true : whenever it's available in the US, it's available in the UK, and often at a better price ^^. I did that for all of them except for Pour elle (Anything for her) : £2.50 vs. $29, come on ! But in the end, the reason I do that for is not for you to buy them, it's to merely pointing out that if you want to see them with English subtitles, you can.

Olivier Marchal (creator, writer of episodes 1.01 to 1.06, director of episodes 1.01 to 1.04) :

2002 – Gangsters, starring Anne Parillaud & Richard Anconina.
2004 – 36, quai des Orfèvres, starring Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, Valeria Golino, André Dussollier & Roschdy Zem.
2008 – MR 73, starring Daniel Auteuil, Olivia Bonamy, Philippe Nahon & Louise Monot.
2009 – Diamant 13, starring Gérard Depardieu, Olivier Marchal, Asia Argento, Anne Coesens & Aïssa Maïga.
2011 – Les Lyonnais, starring Gérard Lanvin, Tchéky Karyo, Daniel Duval, Dimitri Storoge & Patrick Catalifo.
2008-2011 – Flics (8 episodes) : Frédéric Diefenthal, Yann Sunberg, Diouconda Koma, Gwendoline Hamon & Alice Vial.

Frédéric Schoendoerffer (director of episodes 1.05 to 1.08) :

2000 – Scènes de crimes, starring Charles Berling, André Dussolier, Eva Darlan & Elodie Navarre.
2004 – Agents secrets, starring Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, André Dussollier & Charles Berling.
2007 – Truands, starring Benoît Magimel, Philippe Caubère, Béatrice Dalle, Olivier Marchal & Tomer Sisley.
2011 – Switch, starring Eric Cantona, Karine Vanasse, Aurélien Recoing, Karina Testa & Maxim Roy.

Abdel Raouf Dafri (writer of episodes 2.01 to 2.08) :

2007 – La commune (8 eps) : Tahar Rahim, Tomer Sisley, Patrick Descamps, Samira Lachhab & Stéphane Debac.
2008 – L'instinct de mort, starring Vincent Cassel, Cécile de France, Gérard Depardieu, Gilles Lelouche & Elena Anaya.
2008 – Ennemi public n°1, starring Vincent Cassel, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathieu Amalric, Olivier Gourmet & Samuel Le Bihan.
2009 – Un prophète, starring Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup & Leïla Behkti.
2013 – Gibraltar, starring Tahar Rahim, Gilles Lelouche & Youssef Hadji.

Philippe Haïm (writer/director of episodes 2.01 to 2.04) and Eric Valette (writer/director of episodes 2.05 to 2.08) :

1997 – Barracuda, starring Guillaume Canet, Jean Rochefort & Claire Keim.
2003 – Maléfique, starring Clovis Cornillac, Gérald Laroche, Philippe Laudenbach & Dimitri Rataud.
2008 – Secret Défense, starring Gérard Lanvin, Vahina Giocante, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Simon Abkarian & Rachida Brakni.

2009 – Une affaire d'État, starring André Dussolier, Thierry Frémont, Rachida Brakni, Denis Podalydès & Elodie Navarre.
2011 – La proie*, starring Albert Dupontel, Alice Taglioni, Stéphane Debac, Sergi Lopez & Caterina Murino.

* Among the latest ones, La Proie (released in April 2011 in France) will be released in the UK on July 13 (as "The Prey").

It is well worth watching :

— Frequently cast in supporting roles when Olivier Marchal is involved :

- Catherine Marchal : Gangsters, 36 Quai des Orfèvres, MR 73, Diamant 13, Flics.
- Francis Renaud : Gangsters, 36 Quai des Orfèvres, La commune, MR 73, Braquo 2, Les Lyonnais.
- François Levantal : Gangsters, Braquo 2, Les Lyonnais.
- Guy Lecluyse : Gangsters, 36 Quai des Orfèvres, MR 73, Flics.
- Gérald Laroche : Gangsters, Maléfique, MR 73, Une affaire d'État.

And if you like Braquo, it goes without saying that you should watch the first three seasons (28 episodes) of Canal+'s landmark series Engrenages (Spiral). Season 4 (12 episodes) starts this fall on Canal+ and in 2013 on BBC Four.

Now, if you haven't had enough with the movies from the writers & directors of Braquo, don't worry, I've got you covered with a non-exhaustive list of other good films that fit the profile — gritty, raw (cop) action dramas / dark thrillers, all available with English subtitles and produced fairly recently :

Fred Cavayé : Pour elle (with Diane Kruger & Vincent Lindon) and A bout portant (with Gilles Lellouche & Roschdy Zem).
Julien Leclercq : Chrysalis (with Albert Dupontel & Mélanie Thierry) and L'assaut (with Vincent Elbaz).

Nicolas Bouhkrief : Le convoyeur (with Jean Dujardin), Cortex (André Dussollier), Gardiens de l'ordre (Cécile de France).
Mathieu Kassovitz : La haine, Assassin(s), Les rivières pourpres (Jean Reno & Vincent Cassel), L'ordre et la morale.
Olivier Dahan : Déjà mort (with Zoé Félix & Benoit Magimel) and Les anges de l'Apocalypse.

Jan Kounen : Dobermann (with Vincent Cassel & Monica Bellucci).
Florent Emilio-Siri : Nid de guêpes (with Benoit Magimel & Nadia Farès).
Xavier Beauvois : Le petit lieutenant (with Nathalie Baye & Jalil Lespert).
Guillaume Canet : Ne le dis à personne (with François Cluzet & Kristin Scott Thomas).
Olivier Van Hoofstadt : Go Fast (with Roschdy Zem & Olivier Gourmet).
Chris Nahon : L'empire des loups (with Jean Reno & Jocelyn Quivrin).
Eric Barbier : Le serpent (with Clovis Cornillac, Yvan Attal & Olga Kurylenko).
Frédéric Jardin : Nuit blanche (with Tomer Sisley & Julien Boissellier).

Jérôme Salle : Anthony Zimmer (with Sophie Marceau, Yvan Attal & Sami Frey).
Géla Babluani : 13 Tzameti (with George Babluani & Aurélien Recoing).
Grégoire Vigneron : Sans laisser de traces (with Benoit Magimel & Julie Gayet).
Stéphane Ryoyad : Forces spéciales (with Benoit Magimel, Diane Kruger & Djimond Hounsou).
Régis Wargnier : Pars vite et reviens tard (with José Garcia & Marie Gillain).
Lucas Belvaux : Rapt (with Yvan Attal & Anne Consigny).
Thomas Vincent : Le nouveau protocole (with Clovis Cornillac & Marie-Josée Croze).
Richard Berry : L'immortel (with Jean Reno & Marina Fois).
Christian Carion : L'affaire Farewell (with Guillaume Canet, Emir Kustorica & Willem Dafoe).

I especially advise you to check out Polisse, a brilliant gritty cop drama, released on October 19 in France and on May 18 in the US. Nicolas Duvauchelle & Karole Rocher both co-star in the movie as cops also partners, like on Braquo.

I may have slipped one or two great espionage films in this list, but overall they all have one thing in common : dark, compelling stories with twists and turns, featuring realistic, complex antiheroes and violent action.

And you can assume correctly that the directors listed above have done many other great films that are not exactly in the same genre as Braquo but are still worth watching, like Kounen's 99 francs, Emilio-Siri's L'ennemi intime & Cloclo, Dahan's La môme, Beauvois' Des hommes et des dieux, Canet's Mon idole & Les petits mouchoirs, Wargnier's Indochine and Est-Ouest or Carion's Joyeux Noël, among others.

This year, as far as I know there have been 6 thrillers released in theaters that are worth checking out : Une nuit, À l'aveugle, La désintégration, Possessions, 38 témoins & Aux yeux de tous. The next one seems to be Mains armées (release date : today), from Pierre Jolivet, starring Roschdy Zem (yes, he's everywhere), Leïla Behkti & Marc Lavoine. Here's a trailer.

Olivier Marchal has created another gritty serial cop drama besides Braquo, and that's Flics (Cops). It aired on TF1, which might be one of their very few incursions in unsafe grounds, as Flics is much more mature and violent than their usual harmless procedurals and feel-good dramedies (it's like if CBS suddenly aired The Shield on primetime). There have been two seasons of Flics, one in 2008 (4 episodes) and one in 2011 (4 episodes), both of them planned as "mini-series", with an acceptable ending each time that works both as a season or series finale.

Yes, 8 episodes over 3 years is not really the way to have a hit show, or fans, and it wasn't really much of a success, but at least connaisseurs know that it exists and can enjoy it on DVD. A third season isn't ruled out, apparently at the TF1 headquarters they love it, and I guess they can accept below average ratings for one critics darling. Anyway, there's a DVD box set of the first two seasons available on amazon.fr for 15€ but there's no subtitles. If you have no prior knowledge of the French language, don't bother ; like on Braquo, the characters of this drama are not really refined in their way of speaking, no effort is made at all : like, I'm French and sometimes I couldn't even figure out what Theo (Nicolas Duvauchelle) was mumbling in Braquo 2 - I get that they want to look and sound realistic/gritty, but still, they should do a much more thorough post-production process).

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