By the Grace of God to 45 Years: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

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François Ozon takes on child abuse in the French Catholic church, and Charlotte Rampling stars in the devastating drama about a 40th wedding anniversary gone sour


Pick of the week

By the Grace of God

In a departure from his usual playful psychological dramas, François Ozon’s 2018 film is a fact-based tale about child abuse in the French Catholic church. When devout parent Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) discovers his attacker, Father Bernard Preynat, is still working with kids and complains to his Lyon diocese, he receives sympathy but little action. Reporting it to the police, Alexandre inspires fellow victims François (Denis Ménochet) and Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud) to expand the campaign as more crimes – and the church’s cover-ups – come to light. Shot dispassionately, this story’s emotional impact comes from the devastating testimonies of the men whose lives were affected.
Saturday 30 April, 9pm, BBC Four

***

A White, White Day

Rural Iceland police officer Ingimundur (Ingvar Sigurdsson) is on compassionate leave after his wife’s death in a car accident. He’s getting by – grumpily attending counselling, renovating a house and looking after his granddaughter Salka (a wonderfully natural Ida Mekkín Hlynsdóttir). But when he discovers his spouse was having an affair his stability starts to crumble. Hlynur Pálmason’s dark drama uses the country’s landscapes and changeable weather as reflections of Ingimundur’s mental state, his unresolved grief submerged under rain, snow and wind.
Saturday 30 April, 12.55am, BBC Two

***

Drowning By Numbers

A rare screening of a black comedy by that most relentlessly inventive of film-makers, Peter Greenaway. This 1988 work is structured around game-playing: the numbers one to 100 appear sequentially on screen or on the soundtrack for you to spot. Meanwhile, three women (Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson and Joely Richardson), all called Cissie, plot their husbands’ watery deaths and get coroner Madgett (Bernard Hill) to cover up the crimes. Steeped in imagery from art history, it’s a fleshy, Brechtian morality play, set to Michael Nyman’s great funereal score.
Sunday 1 May, 1.30am, Film4

***

45 Years

In Andrew Haigh’s deft drama, a Norfolk couple’s belated 40th wedding anniversary brings not fond reminiscences but memories and revelations that threaten to shatter their relationship. Charlotte Rampling plays Kate, who discovers something about a former lover of her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay) that calls into question the entire basis of their hitherto content marriage. It’s another fantastic work from British director Haigh, subtle but devastating, and he elicits great performances from both his venerable leads.
Monday 2 May, 1.25am, Film4

***

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Anvil! The Story Of Anvil.
Anvil! The Story Of Anvil. Photograph: Anvilmetal/Rex/Shutterstock

Toronto metal band Anvil were briefly a thing in the 80s. Now it’s 2006, and the two original members, Lips and Robb, subsist on past glories and the simple joy of playing music – until the prospect of a European tour revives dreams of wider fame. Sacha Gervasi’s humorous, poignant documentary has the spectre of Spinal Tap forever hanging over it, but manages to have fun with the cliches (they visit Stonehenge; a dial does go to 11) while largely being a touching study of a lifelong friendship.
Wednesday 4 May, 9pm, Sky Arts

***

Angel Face

Otto Preminger’s 1953 sort-of-noir stars Robert Mitchum as Frank, an ambulance driver with racing ambitions, who falls into the orbit of Jean Simmons’s 19-year-old rich kid Diane. She’s a femme fatale, though she’s not very good at the job. The insouciant Frank isn’t really taken in by Diane’s complaints about her supposedly vicious stepmother or professions of love, but is tempted by the prospect of funding his dreams. Naturally, he soon finds himself neck-deep in trouble, in a thriller with a fatalistic air and a grownup take on relationships.
Wednesday 4 May, 1pm, Great! Movies Classic

***

Top Hat

This 1935 musical was the first created especially by RKO for the new partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and boasts a couple of Irving Berlin’s greatest songs: the title tune and Cheek to Cheek, which features an ostrich-feather dress designed by Rogers herself and one of their finest pieces of choreography. The plot is typical F&G romantic fluff, a wafer-thin farce of mistaken identity featuring a near-identical cast to The Gay Divorcee (which follows at 10.40pm) in a Venice seemingly created from royal icing, but with vast sets ripe for dancing in.
Thursday 5 May, 9pm, BBC Four

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