Summer of Soul to Little Richard: I Am Everything – the seven best films to watch on TV this week

Pick of the week

Little Richard: I Am Everything

The most intriguing – and certainly the most extrovert – of the inventors of rock’n’roll, Richard Wayne Penniman’s life and career are given a candid treatment in Lisa Cortés’s compelling documentary. She embeds him in a queer narrative, from his early days performing in drag to the musical and sartorial influence of gay musicians Esquerita and Billy Wright. But Richard’s shifts between devil-may-care flamboyance and self-flagellating religiosity suggest that, as one talking head says, “he existed in contradiction”. The other theme running through this eye-opening tale is the racism that prevented the singer’s achievements from being acknowledged, and which gnawed at him all his life.
Sunday 15 October, 11.05pm, Channel 4

Related: Too black, too queer, too holy: why Little Richard never truly got his dues

* * *

The Burial

Jamie Foxx in The Burial.
Comic flow … Jamie Foxx in The Burial. Photograph: Skip Bolen/AP

This fun legal comedy-drama is inspired by the true story of a Mississippi funeral director who sued a multinational competitor over a contract dispute. Tommy Lee Jones plays Jeremiah O’Keefe, whose attempt to save his indebted family firm lands him in hot water. But this is Jamie Foxx’s film. He bosses the screen as Willie E Gary, the high-profile lawyer O’Keefe hires, who sees the courtroom as his own personal pulpit. It’s a joy to see Foxx in full comic flow, even if the racial politics of the case and the “little guy v The Man” theme often take a backseat.
Out now, Prime Video

* * *

The Red Shoes

Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes.
Surreal and exquisite … Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes. Photograph: Collection Christophel/Alamy

A modern spin on the Hans Christian Andersen fable, Powell and Pressburger’s vivid 1948 drama explores the creative impulse – and the warping effect it can have on relationships. Moira Shearer plays dancer Victoria, who finds fame with a ballet based on the fairytale while falling for its young composer Julian (Marius Goring). But the company’s impresario, Lermontov (a glowering Anton Walbrook), resents their affair and thinks she should devote her life to her art. A cinematic tour de force, with a surreal, exquisite 17-minute ballet sequence at its centre.
Saturday 14 October, 1pm, BBC Two

* * *


From left: Kevin Iannucci, Kaitlin Olson, James Day Keith, Madison Tevlin, Cheech Marin and Woody Harrelson in Champions.
Uplifting … (from left) Kevin Iannucci, Kaitlin Olson, James Day Keith, Madison Tevlin, Cheech Marin and Woody Harrelson in Champions. Photograph: Shauna Townley/AP

A drink-driving basketball coach finds redemption while doing community service training a team of disabled youngsters. So far, so cliched, but Bobby Farrelly’s comedy avoids most of the pitfalls by giving his supporting cast, who have intellectual disabilities, individuality and agency. Woody Harrelson is his usual engagingly exasperated self as the talented but short-fused coach who bonds with Kevin Iannucci’s player Johnny and his sister Alex (Hacks’ Kaitlin Olson). An aspirational drama realised with bags of charm.
Saturday, 5.40pm, Sky Cinema Premiere

* * *


Lupita Nyong’o in Us.
Close encounters … Lupita Nyong’o in Us. Photograph: Album/Alamy

A family of four go on holiday but one night are confronted by their evil doppelgangers, dressed in red jumpsuits and wielding scissors … With his extremely unsettling 2019 horror, Jordan Peele adds to his stock of urban myths informed by the African American experience. Through Lupita Nyong’o’s mother Adelaide, whose childhood encounter with her mirror twin kicks off the drama, the film-maker touches the dark heart of America (Us = US), where the repressed are unseen but always present.
Sunday 15 October, 9pm, BBC Two

* * *

Summer of Soul

Sly Stone in a secne from Summer of Soul.
Astonishing … Sly Stone in Summer of Soul. Photograph: Alamy

In summer 1969, about the same time as Woodstock was grabbing all the headlines, the Harlem cultural festival took place in New York, featuring a gobsmackingly great lineup of Black musical talent. Questlove has assembled hours of footage of the long-neglected event into an astonishing documentary. Stevie Wonder, the Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, the force of nature that was Nina Simone are a few of the stars giving their all in front of a packed family crowd. Context is given by performers and audience members, but the music does the job all by itself.
Monday 16 October, 10pm, Channel 4

* * *


Florence Pugh in Midsommar.
Mystical community … Florence Pugh in Midsommar. Photograph: Landmark Media/Alamy

Carried out entirely in daylight like its inspiration The Wicker Man, Ari Aster’s grisly horror throws a group of self-centred modern Americans into a weird world of pagan ritual that they are, fatefully, incapable of comprehending. Florence Pugh’s Dani tags along with a group of male friends to an age-old summer solstice festival in rural Sweden. Mourning her dead family and with an unsympathetic boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), she begins to suspect that this mystical community may, bizarrely, be better for her than her old life.
Wednesday 18 October, 10.55pm, Film4