Black Bear to Schindler’s List: the seven best films to watch on TV this week
Pick of the week
A teasing air of mystery pervades Lawrence Michael Levine’s off-centre drama, a tale of two halves exploring the creative process. Aubrey Plaza could fill a showreel with her committed performance(s) as Allison, a film-maker (or is she an actor?) intending to write her next movie at the lakeside log cabin owned by Christopher Abbott’s musician Gabe and his pregnant partner Blair (Sarah Gadon) – a couple whose unhappiness is brought to the boil by her presence. After that noirish opening, the second part features the same three actors in the same location but as different characters. The film-shoot plot is often comic, but becomes increasingly fraught and emotional.
Thursday 26 January, Amazon Freevee
Bank of Dave
The true story of Burnley self-made millionaire Dave Fishwick, who loans money to local businesses with the profits going to charity, has become an amiable comedy, albeit one a fair distance from the facts. Here, Joel Fry’s hangdog London solicitor Hugh – hired by the chipper Dave (Rory Kinnear) to get his project legitimised as a bank – has his prejudices dismantled by the town’s friendliness. It’s a classic British underdog story, with some cracking courtroom drama, a conceited City grandee to hiss at, and Def Leppard in the role of deus ex machina.
Out now, Netflix
The Hanging Sun
Francesco Carrozzini’s adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s novel Midnight Sun edges away from the grisly twists and turns of the Scandi noir author’s usual output. Rather, it’s a tale of redemption, as Alessandro Borghi’s taciturn stranger hides out from his criminal family in a starkly beautiful but hidebound religious community in the Nordic far north. Soon, he is drawn into the lives of Jessica Brown Findlay’s abused wife and her son. Charles Dance and Peter Mullan provide the dramatic heft, as hope peeks tentatively through the gloom.
Saturday 21 January, 10.50am, 8pm, Sky Cinema Premiere
Berberian Sound Studio
A film to be listened to as much as watched, retro stylist Peter Strickland’s unsettling chiller delves into the obscure world of movie post-production. Toby Jones plays Gilderoy, an unworldly sound engineer who flies to Italy to supervise the effects on a horror picture. We never see the work in progress, only the screams of the (mainly female) cast and the evisceration of various fruit and vegetables as the violent, misogynistic imagery starts to mess with Gilderoy’s mind – to the point where he falls out of sync with reality. Unsettling fare.
Saturday 21 January, 11.45pm, Film4
The TV week leading to Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday offers up several films exploring the subject, but few have had the popular impact of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Oscar winner. It’s an unflinching, intensely moving tragedy, shot in crisp black-and-white, about Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German businessman in Poland who exploits the free labour of the Jews of Kraków’s ghetto. Slowly, reluctantly, he finds a conscience and tries to save their lives in a heartbreaking true story.
Sunday 22 January, 10pm, BBC Two
Wings of Desire
Wim Wenders’ tender 1987 romantic fantasy is filtered through the lens of a then divided Berlin, resulting in a film that balances wonder with sadness. Bruno Ganz plays Damiel, one of a population of angels who watch over the German city’s inhabitants but are unable to intervene in their lives. Then he sees Solveig Dommartin’s trapeze artist Marion and feels the tug of human emotion – particularly love – and the desire for physical connection. It’s a freewheeling, poetic tale, shifting between black-and-white and colour as it dwells on the experiences of both the aerial and the earthbound.
Monday 23 January, 1.45am, Film4
This febrile 2017 amour fou mystery was our first indication that Jessie Buckley was a star in the making. She blazes through the film as Moll, the disaffected daughter of a well-off Jersey family who is drawn to the dangerous Pascal (Johnny Flynn). Meanwhile, a series of murders of girls has set the island on edge. While Pascal may have his secrets (is he the killer?), Moll isn’t the dutiful child her controlling mother (the great Geraldine James) would like. Writer-director Michael Pearce went on to make the tense Riz Ahmed thriller Encounter, so is another one to watch.
Tuesday 24 January, 10.50pm, Film4