EDITOR’S NOTE: We happily discovered Dr. Pearl Brandwein while reviewing MHz Choice subscriber feedback on our programs and, after reading a half dozen or so of Dr. Brandwein’s insightful reviews, all of us here at MHz Choice had the same thought: We need to get the good doctor to write for us! Enjoy! -MHz Choice

Now streaming on MHz Choice!

Marie Enthoven, the creator and co-writer of the eight-episode Belgian series UNSEEN is a creative and original thinker who likely draws inspiration from science fiction writers such as H.G. Wells and his literary and cinematic successors.

This series takes place in the small village of Sainte Croix de Creux, where many citizens suffer from extreme sensitivity to light or to sound, some to both as a result of the devastatingly transformative RF rays emitted by the village’s cell tower. Dr. Laurence Deconde, the opthamologist and surgeon, performed laser surgery on her father, Dr. Victor Deconde, a pioneer in laser eye surgery. The surgery went well except for the “unseen” presence in the room pushing the needle into Dr. Deconde’s eye after the machine was unplugged, which results in his blindness. Laurence has constant headaches from noise emitted by the tower; consequently, she sleeps in her concrete-walled basement and wears a special hood to avoid the rays. Other inhabitants also cannot take the noise and ringing in their heads, and are unable to work due to sleep deprivation; they have tried to speak to the mayor about cutting off the telecom network at night, but he avoids meeting with them. Various storylines intersect through Laurence’s family members with three other families – ultimately pitting Laurence against her husband, Dr. De Nayer; and their daughter, Lily, against her father.

This series can be viewed as a parable of our times. Our tech-infused existence permits all of us to become “unseen” whenever we wish by vanishing into emotional, psychological and physical isolation.

This dark thriller follows a well-trodden path laid out by H.G. Wells (1866-1946) in his 1897 novel “The Invisible Man.” James Whale’s (1889-1957) 1933 screen adaptation of the novel also titled “The Invisible Man” follows Wells’ hero, Griffin, a scientist and optics researcher, who invents a refracting index that can avoid air by neither absorbing nor refracting light. After several experiments, he finally uses it on himself thereby becoming permanently invisible. UNSEEN benefits from the literary (books, comics, audio books) and visual (film, TV) progeny of the science-fiction genre created by Wells. Special effects wizardry propels the plot of UNSEEN forward when we – the viewers — see characters stark naked but who are invisible to those near them. Wells’ “invisible” hero commits random acts of violence; whereas, Angele, the “unseen” character — visible only to her son — commits violent acts because she is out of control. The inclusion of the psychological factor into the sci-fi genre not only ramps up our primal fear – of humans (proto humans); of objects (animate/inanimate), and of malevolent nature and beasts but also increases our fear of the supernatural – things we do not see and do not understand — yet remain dormant in our subconscious ecosystem. In this way, science fiction enters the realm of horror.

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Myriem Akheddiou in Unseen on MHz Choice

Wells’ influence is also evident in Edgar Ulmer’s (1904-1972) 1960 film “The Amazing Transparent Man.” The protagonist, former US Army Major Paul Krenner, seeks world domination with the help of Dr. Paul Ulof, whose invisibility machine will create an army of invisible soldiers. To this end, Krenner helps Joey Faustus break out of jail in order to steal Dr. Ulof’s machine. The cinematic sci-fi genre becomes more character driven and specialized when a madman or an evil scientist pursues world domination or simply a Faustian bargain in the quest for knowledge as illustrated by Dr. Nathan De Nayer, Laurence’s husband, who wants to use their unwilling “unseen” daughter, Lily, as a guinea pig in his research to further his career.

This series embodies man’s fears, hopes and achievements through good and evil, sanity and insanity as well as a broad spectrum of ideologies. For those who like a twist to their science fiction, UNSEEN is a must-see!

About the author:
A lover of Romance languages and cultures, Dr. Pearl Brandwein has a Certificate in French Culture and Civilization from the Sorbonne. She then earned both her Masters’ degree in French Language/Literature and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University. Dr. Brandwein’s areas of academic expertise include the Renaissance and the Faust Figure in European Literature in addition to 19th and 20th Century Drama. Her other interests include writing about Holocaust Literature.

Dr. Brandwein began her teaching career at Princeton University followed by faculty positions at other academic institutions. In addition to French, she has also taught German, Latin, English Composition and ESL to corporate executives. After academia, she held numerous positions in the public and private sectors working as an Editor/Instructor/Administrator and as a PR professional and business communications executive directing editorial and marketing initiatives for EU clients.

She is a cineaste and a lover of Film Noir, Westerns and foreign films as well as a theatre and opera buff; she also attends concerts, lectures, ballet performances, museum and gallery exhibitions. In her rare spare time, she reads voraciously.


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