World Cinema

Sunday (27/2)           01:00     Film4                Border (2018)

You are unlikely to see anything like this in the next week.  Directed by Ali Abbasi and written by him, Isabella Eklof and John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let The Right One In) it features a breathtaking  performance by Eva Melander as Tina, a Swedish border guard, with an almost Neanderthal appearance, who has the ability to sniff out human emotions like guilt or shame, and with them whatever is being smuggled.  Tina has a partner, Roland, and she visits her father in his care home, but it is only when she meets Vore (Eero Milonoff), who resembles her, that she is able to start exploring her identity and origins, though Vore also has a secret.  Winner of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Festival.  (John Russell)

Thursday (3/3)          01:55     Channel 4        A Bigger Splash (2016)   

One of those films that initially looks like an excuse for the cast and crew to have a nice holiday and make a film while they’re at it.  In this case it’s Italy and the holiday turns out not to be so harmonious after all, as Tilda Swinton’s rock star Marianne, who is recovering from vocal surgery, is unexpectedly visited by former lover and producer Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter Pen (Dakota Johnson).  Harry is painfully exuberant, while Marianne’s current partner Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) is more troubled and subdued.  A heady cocktail brews up and Johnson smoulders as only she can.  Swinton is brilliant as always, and it’s fair to say that by the end she finds her voice.  (JR)

Stephen Ilott’s Picks

Saturday (26/2)        13:00     BBC2                      The Apartment (1960)

Billy Wilder followed his legendary comedy Some Like it Hot with another, The Apartment, also starring Jack Lemmon. A mid level employee tries to engineer a better position for himself by letting his bosses use his apartment as a hang-out for their seedy rendezvous. When this brings Shirley MacLaine into his home, he does his best to win her round. (Martin Harris)

                                   15:00     BBC2                      Brief Encounter (1945)  (also BBC4 Thursday 22:50)

Brief Encounter is a story of exactly that, a short-lived romantic affair between a doctor and housewife who meet by chance in a train station. They have an undeniable chemistry but in a stereotypically British way, neither is comfortable even spending innocent time together with their partners unaware. Director David Lean draws extraordinary emotion and power from its writing and performances, it was voted best romantic film of all time in a Guardian poll. (MJH)

                                   21:00     Channel 4              Knives Out (2019) 

The Agatha Christie country house whodunit brought bang up to date, with a brilliantly ingenious series of twists and turns, a fine ensemble cast and Bond – neither shaken nor stirred – in great form, cerebral, no gadgets, and adopting a convincing Southern drawl, at least to my ears. That’s American Southern, not English. (Sim Fox)

Monday (28/2)         18:20     Film4                      Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World  (2003)

Peter Weir’s stirring adaptation of Patrick O’Brian’s series of Napoleonic War era novels, with Russell Crowe as Captain Aubrey of HMS Surprise and Paul Bethany as ship surgeon Maturin, as they engage French privateer Acheron off the coast of Brazil and later near the Galapagos, where Maturin hopes to do research.  Weir creates a terrific sense of the close friendship between the two leads, the general camaraderie and sense of common purpose, as well as how the crew behave in stressful and claustrophobic situations, and the battle scenes are bloody and convincing. Or just bloody convincing. (Andrew Smith)

Wednesday (2/3)     01:10     Film4                      Skate Kitchen (2018) 

Skate Kitchen is a real-life group of female skaters who play fictionalised versions of themselves in the film. Very convincingly as it happens. The story centres on 18 year old Camille who becomes part of the group, despite her mother making her promise to give up skating. Premiered at the 2018 Sundance Festival. Critics found it ‘fresh, infectiously joyful’ with a ‘laid-back documentary realist style’. (JR)

Friday (4/3)              21:05     Talking Pictures    The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

Classic Roger Corman version of the Edgar Allan Poe story about a young man, Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon) who travels to The House of Usher, a desolate mansion, to find his fiancee Madeline (Myrna Fahey) but runs into difficulties with her brother Roderick (Vincent Price) who opposes the marriage because he says the Usher bloodline is cursed by madness. He might be right. A crypt is involved. (JR)

Other modern films of interest

Saturday (26/3)         22:00   BBC2                  Blinded By the Light (2019)

Based on the life of journalist and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor growing up in Luton in the 1980s and directed by Gurinder Chadha.  Viveik Kalra plays Javed, a British-Pakistani teenager at odds with his family, who is introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen by his friend Roops, the only other Asian pupil at their school.  Javed identifies with Springsteen’s songs, which prove to be a gateway to a much richer life, despite the tension with his family along the way.  Nell Williams plays Javed’s on-off girlfriend Eliza.  Joyous and exhilarating. (JR)

                                   23:45   BBC2                  Memento (2000) 

An early offering from Christopher Nolan, before he was an accomplished hit maker. To get inside the mind of our protagonist, the labyrinthine Memento uses an inventive structure to tell the story of Leonard Shelby (Guy Ritchie) who suffers from anterograde amnesia, meaning he essentially has no short-term memory. Even so, he has a murder to solve, that of his wife. (MJH)

Monday (28/2)          01:25   Channel 4          Hail, Caesar! (2016)

The Coen Brothers direct and produce this classically irreverent, unpredictable yet underwhelming comedy which is both scathing and loving towards behind-the-scenes running of the film industry which they themselves have helped to shape. Starring Coens’ favourites George Clooney as a film star and Josh Brolin as a Hollywood fixer alongside a long list of recognisable talent including Tilda Swinton and Scarlets Johansson. (MJH) [I didn’t find it underwhelming at all. Ed.]

Tuesday (1/3)            21:00   Sky Arts              Dean Martin: King of Cool (2021)

Homage directed by Tom Donahue to the laid-back crooner, actor, TV host and Rat Pack member, featuring tributes from, among others, Sammy Davis Jr, Angie Dickinson, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Johnny Carson and Peter Bogdanovich. (JR)

Wednesday (2/3)      22:00   BBC4                   Writing With Fire (2021) 

 Inspiring documentary directed Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas about Kabar Lahariya, the only newspaper in India run by Dalit women. Won numerous awards, including the Oscar for best documentary feature. (JR)

Thursday (3/3)          21:00   BBC4                  The King’s Speech (2010) 

Best Picture Oscar winner starring Colin Firth as King George who struggles with public speaking because of a debilitating stammer. Having tried all sorts, his faithful wife queen (Helena Bonham Carter) employs the irreverent unorthodox vocal coach Lionel Logie (Geoffrey Rush) Based on true events and including some of the most established British acting talent. (MJH)

Friday (4/3)               02:20   Film4                  Slow West (2015)

Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Jay, a young Scotsman (‘a jack rabbit in a den of wolves’) embarking on an odyssey across the West to find his love, Rose Ross, who has disappeared with her father and is subject to a bounty. Along the way, Jay meets and employs bounty hunter Silas (Michael Fassbender) to assist him. Directed with dry humour by John MacLean. (JR)


Sunday (27/2)             14:40    BBC2                     Around the World in 80 Days (1956)  

The first screen version of Jules Vernes’ 1873 novel about a wager to circumnavigate the globe, starring David Niven as Phileas Fogg and Catinflas as Passepartout, with cameo appearances by a huge supporting cast, including Finlay Currie, Buster Keaton, Marlene Dietrich, Trevor Howard, Charles Boyer, Fernandel, Shirley Maclaine, Helen Keyes and John Gielgud.  Robert Morley plays the Governor of the Bank of England.  Given that in real life he was a socialist, that sounds like good casting. It is spectacular, won the Best Picture Oscar and probably substituted for foreign travel for a large section of the audience. (JR)

Tuesday (1/3)              01:15    Film4                     Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987)

A gritty slice of Yorkshire working-class life, as two teenage babysitters Rita (Siobhan Finneran) and Sue (Michelle Holmes) embark on an affair with Bob (George Costigan), an older, more affluent married man with a bit of a track record. Lesley Sharp plays Bob’s unhappy wife Michelle. Alan Clarke directs with verve. The poster said ‘Thatcher’s Britain with her knickers down’. Those were the days. (JR)

Thursday (3/3)            21:00    Talking Pictures   The Angry Silence (1960)  

Curiosity, about industrial relations in 1960s Britain, in which Richard Attenborough plays factory worker Tom who refuses for financial reasons to go on strike and is ostracised by his fellow workers, in particular the shop steward (Bernard Lee) and activist (Alfred Burke). Pier Angeli plays Tom’s pregnant wife. Guy Green directed and Bryan Forbes wrote the script, along with Michael Craig and Richard Gregson. (JR)

Friday (4/3)                  00:45    Talking Pictures   The Desperate Hours (1955)

Humphrey Bogart’s penultimate film performance, as villainous escaped convict Glenn, in William Wyler’s home invasion drama.  He and two other escapees need to wait in the family’s house for a package of money to aid their escape.  Frederic March plays Daniel Hilliard, the father who must rise to the occasion.  The original play by Joseph Hayes was loosely based on a real hostage situation involving the Hill family, though they later sued over a Life magazine article, which they said was inaccurate.  They said they had not in fact been harmed and had been treated courteously.  In fact they had rather enjoyed it all.  (I made the last bit up). Richard Nixon was the lawyer for the Hills in the case.  (That part is true). (JR)


2 thoughts on “Freeview films 26/2/22 to 4/3/22

  1. Hi John
    Thanks for the newsletter.
    I watched ‘Blinded by the list’ last night ( I am in my sister’s).
    I quite enjoyed watching it, thought it was over sentimentalised.

    1. Interesting. Not seen it. The writer/subject has become a powerful media operator on the Guardian wing of things.

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