1899 on Netflix is attracting the attention of many viewers: in recent days many are watching this series that escapes any single definition and it is among other things recited in a dozen different languages. Certainly it is curiosity and word of mouth that is attracting the public to face this indecipherable enigma but many have already convicted without appeal: you don’t understand anything, it’s the usual unnecessarily complicated series, I-no-that-I-don’t-get-cheated-again. 1899 it’s the new thing that either you love it or you hate itsuch as coriander, the Little Prince and solar time. On the one hand, those who keep away from it have their reasons, even understandable – a mixture of exhaustion and distrust – but on the other it is really a great pity that a narrative challenge of this kind is not faced with the right attitude, that is, with curiosity, patience and a pinch of resignation.
After all 1899 has all the conditions to trigger theimpatience of the average viewer: it changes genre and register every second, first it’s horror, then it’s drama, then it’s soft gay porn, then it’s sci-fi, then horror again, then Titanicthen matrix and so on; it is recited in a thousand languages so subtitles are inevitable; the dialogues are always a bit allusive but left unfinished and no one seems to formulate sensible sentences; has a soundtrack that not even the port of Marghera; the questions pile up one after the other (Why is the Chinese girl dressed as a Japanese geisha? Who trained the cockroach to pick locks? Who built that fifteen ma game with little triangles? Which post office went to who sent the letters to the passengers who do they live in every corner of the planet?) e the ending is one of the more WTF things never seen in recent years. Yet it is difficult to abandon the belief that all these things, rather than being experienced with annoyance and nervousness, should instead be taken as compelling challenges. “What the hell happens then?” or “Why did you tell me all this?” are the fundamental questions of literature since the time of Gilgamesh.
Me the ones who want to throw the tablet out the window every time I’m around multiple storylines, flash-forwards, creepy kids with iron deficiency or nefarious pyramid-shaped devices, however, I understand them a little. It’s called the syndrome of Lost. After being held hostage by JJ Abrams and his polar bears for six seasons, pseudo-Fibonacci numbers, time jumps and black clouds that make you home and then get to the end and discovering what we suspected from the very first episode, it is understandable that any narrative project that tries to be clever by altering linearity and multiplying mystical cues and twists immediately raises the antennas. There are so many series nowadays that maybe we don’t want to get caught up further: Emily in Paris, to say, he’s always in Paris taking selfies, it’s not like one day he enters a café in Places de Vosges and finds himself in Tokyo in 1765 raising cormorants upside down.