Director: Abigail Mallia, Written by: Carlos Debattista and Salvu Mallia, Producer: Carlos Debattista and Abigail Mallia, Produced By: Take Two, Malta, Language: Maltese, 2020, 3×42′, Rights: World excluding Malta
Based on real events, Merjen is a heart-wrenching story about life through the eyes of women. Moving between past and present, it tells of the tortured love between Bertu played by Fabio Mifsud and Merjen played by Claire Magro. From childhood sweethearts, their friendship blossoms into teenage romance until Bertu must escape the island.
The two childhood friends, who grow up to become lovers – develop a morbid relationship rooted in visceral sexual attraction, which quickly spirals into the dark realm of domestic abuse and leads to two vicious murders. With motherhood as its core theme, the story unfolds in the sordid back alleys and slums that are Merjen’s world, as this broken yet fiery woman, an absent mother to her toddler Chris, is inexorably propelled towards ultimate tragedy.
Over time, Merjen grows into a voluptuous beauty and marries a young, handsome Englishman, who soon abandons her leaving Merjen alone with a baby. Sometime after, her childhood sweetheart, Bertu returns home and the two resume their torpid affair.
Mad with jealousy at the thought of his Merjen in the arms of another, Bertu spirals into gambling and drinking and eventually presses Merjen into prostitution to finance these vices. With every new client Bertu’s jealousy flares into beatings and abuse.
This is a catch 22 situation for Bertu. Meanwhile, life takes its toll on the young mother forcing her to neglect her infant son, a situation that ultimately leads to the baby’s death. It is only at this point that realisation dawns on Merjen that as a young mother, she has lost her reason for being. Broken and driven by remorse, she resorts to instigating Bertu’s jealousy culminating in a brutal double murder.
The series, lived through the characters of Bertu and Merjen is narrated by Merjen’s adoptive grandmother, Lonza and Bertu’s spiteful and overly protective mother, Lukarda – who together portray a visceral insight into the day to day struggle for life in the hidden back alleys of