‘El perfume’ is one of those books whose reading deeply marks its readers. Edited in 1985, the text by Patrick Süskind became a worldwide bestseller and was praised for its unique atmosphere, which achieved the impossible: to transmit something as complex as smells only with words. Set in the 18th century, it follows the story of a perfumer with an extraordinary sense of smell who becomes involved in a series of crimes and in the creation of a perfume that unleashes the most uncivilized instincts of those who smell it.
Due to its success, ‘El perfume’ became an attractive material to be adapted to different media. It wasn’t until 2006 that version made it to the big screen, under the title of ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ after years in pre-production. More recently, in 2018, ‘El perfume’ arrived, a German miniseries that adapted the novel bringing it to the current time and that you can also watch on Netflix. Now back on Netflix, it’s the turn of a new 2022 movie, ‘the perfumer‘, which retains the contemporary setting but gives the plot a twist.
In this case, there are plot elements and some character in common between the series and the new film, although they can be enjoyed separately. We will meet a police inspector with no sense of smell whose destiny intersects with a perfumer who uses criminal methods to achieve the ideal aroma. As you can see, there are many elements in common with both the book and its adaptations, only that On this occasion we have a crude modern police setting that remodels the original story.
It is curious how the original story has evolved, from a period fantasy with overtones of a criminal mystery to a police crime in its purest form and with clearly Nordic overtones, with serial killers of ruthless and symbolic post-Seven methods and policemen with problems, in the style Norwegian. A logical but suggestive evolution and, of course, very significant, for the classic text.