Stay-At-Home Seven: May 4-10

Films to catch on UK TV and streaming services this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox
Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox
As another week of lockdown beckons, we're bringing you our regular round-up of films to catch on TV or streaming services for the week ahead. If you're looking for a bit more inspiration, you can read our latest Streaming Spotlight selection here, which this week celebrates World Press Freedom Day by considering films about journalism and journalists. Feel free to suggest a topic for that on Facebook or Twitter.

Cunningham, £4.99, Tuesday, May 5

Our interactive screening suggestion this week is the Curzon Home Cinema's latest live conversation - this week with documentarian Alla Kovgan. The streaming service were quick off the mark to get this excellent series up and running when lockdown started and they've got some other excellent additions coming up, including Whit Stillman chatting about Love & Friendship and Sebastian Schipper on the one-take marvel that is Victoria. Kovgan's documentary is an immersive dive into the work of choreographer Merce Cunningham that helps us to understand his brilliance through his art by taking us to the heart of many of his dance pieces. Get in the mood by checking out our interview with Alla Kovgan and chat with dancers and choreography team Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener. Read our full review.

Beauty And The Dogs, Film4 (Freeview Channel 14), Tuesday, May 5, 1.40am

This drama by Tunisia director Kaouther Ben Hania is, for once, showing in the small hours on Film4 for good reason - it is a tough watch. It follows a woman over a single night as she tries to fight for her rights after being raped. Despite its difficult subject matter, this film is well worth catching for the riveting central performance by Mariam Al Ferjani and for the comprehensive way the director - who based his film on a real woman's account - shines a light on police corruption even in the face of a woman who knows her rights. Read our full review.

The Elephant Man, BBC iPlayer until May 26

Some of David Lynch's wilder flights of fantasy, such as Inland Empire, may have proved tough going for a lot of audiences, but this early feature from his back catalogue, sandwiched between cult classics Eraserhead and Blue Velvet offers plenty of mainstream appeal. It tells the tragic tale of John Merrick (played with great nuance under a lot of prosthetics by the late, great John Hurt). Hurt lost out in the Oscar race to Robert De Niro for Raging Bull, but he would have been just as worthy a winner, bringing a soulful anguish to his portrayal of the disfigured Merrick, who is rescued by surgeon Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins). Watch it and weep. Read our full review

Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Film4 (Freeview Channel 14), Thursday, May 7, 9pm

When it comes to cracking portrayals of childhood, Taika Waititi - who recently took on another youngster's story in Jo Jo Rabbit to more mixed reviews - proves he has the knack with this offbeat Aussie adventure that sees troubled "bad egg" Ricky (Julian Dennison) who ends up on the run with his gruff foster dad Hec (Sam Neill, having a blast). Waititi balances belly laughs with more poignant and thoughtful moments, moving from triumph to tragedy and back again with ease. Read our full review

The Lunchbox, BBC2, Saturday, May 9, 12.25am

Actor Irrfan Khan - who died at just 53 last month - delivers one of his many memorable performances in Ritesh Batra's debut film. Here, Khan brings a world weary charm and droll humour to lonely office worker Saajan who, after a lunchbox mix up, begins an unusual epistolary relationship with a neglected housewife. From its celebration of the Indian dabbawallah lunchbox system (and we see the real ones going about their business here) to the bittersweet tale at its heart, this is a thoughtful and well-crafted film that's worth catching for Khan's performance alone. Read our full review.

The Horse Whisperer, Sony Movies (Freeview Channel 32), Friday, 1.30pm

When it comes to carefully crafted films, Robert Redford is a safe pair of hands. This was the first time that he had directed himself and he could have been born to the role of the horse whisperer who helps a teenager (Scarlett Johansson) and her horse following a life-changing accident. Also featuring a magnetic performance from Kristin Scott Thomas as the teenager's mother, writers Eric Roth and Richard LaGravenese shear off the sentimentality of Nicholas Evans' original novel, finding emotional resonance in questions of healing and communication that feel mature and profound. Read ourfull review.

Bad Day For The Cut, Netflix or from 99p on Amazon Prime and other platforms

This taut debut from Chris Baugh, sees farmer Donal (Nigel O'Neill) sucked into a world of violence as secrets from the past mingle with the modern horror of people trafficking after his mum is murdered. Baugh gives his psychological thriller a blackly comic edge - not least in the weapons Donal keeps finding to hand as he and a newly found partner in vengeance go on the hunt for a queen pin (Susan Lynch). Although its spirit is anarchic, this film packs a surprising amount of emotional heft. Baugh's follow up film, Boys From County Hell, had been due to premiere at Tribeca this month before coronavirus got in the way. We may have to wait a bit longer, but I'll be looking out for it. Read our full review.

Finally, then, to our short selection for this week. If, like me, you've been spending a lot more time in the kitchen since lockdown, you may find you've been throwing all sorts of things in the pot. With that in mind, you'll hopefully enjoy the zesty inventiveness of the Oscar-nominated Fresh Guacamole from PES 

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