Stay-At-Home Seven: October 19 to 25

Telly and streaming suggestions for the coming week.

by Amber Wilkinson

Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe in Hidden Figures
Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe in Hidden Figures
The New Girlfriend, BBC iPlayer, until November 14

French director François Ozon has always taken a playful approach to genre and you can sense he's having considerable fun with this loose adaptation of Ruth Rendell's short story. He uses warm, offbeat humour to avoid farce as he explores continuum of sexuality in this tale of a Claire (Anna Demoustier), who gets more than she bargained for after telling her seriously ill friend Laura (Isild Le Besco) that she'll take care of her husband David (Romain Duris) and baby. It turns out that David has a particularly unusual - and for Claire, initially challenging - way of coping with grief, setting the stage for an exploration of masculinity and femininity that will run through the film. Ozon isn't afraid to challenge his audience but he always makes sure he entertains along the way. Read what Duris told us about the film and our full review.

I Am Not Your Negro, BBC4, Tuesday, October 20, 11.05pm

Anne-Katrin Titze writes: Raoul Peck uses stills, archival footage and movie clips less to illustrate than to illuminate and set on visual fire James Baldwin's spoken and written words. The full use of what film can do is eye-opening - the juxtapositions jolt awareness of what is important and remains necessary. Baldwin makes the distinction between a witness and an actor, rage versus terror along the colour line, and explains how the American affinity for simplicity and sincerity results in the fact that "immaturity is taken to be a virtue too." On being a witness: "I was to discover that the line that separates a witness from an actor is a very thin line indeed. Nevertheless the line is real." From very recent images of brutality to photographs of the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee, from frolicking white picnickers in Stanley Donen and George Abbott's The Pajama Game to an interracial couple dancing in Horace Ové's Pressure - old and new, heavy and light, the tapestry of I Am Not Your Negro is tightly woven. "I am terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves so long that they really don't think I'm human. And this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters," Baldwin feared to the end. Read what Gay Talese told us about the importance of the film and James Baldwin, plus what Peck said about it and our full review.

Yellow Is Forbidden, BBC4, Wednesday, October 21, 12.35am

Anne-Katrin Titze writes: "I'm a designer," Guo Pei responds to an inquiry in the documentary, "I do not represent a nation." Pietra Brettkelly gets remarkably close to her subject, who allows us to have a look at her home and some of what makes her tick. Guo Pei is full of contradictions and Yellow Is Forbidden doesn't try to hide that, quite the opposite. A child of the Cultural Revolution, she didn't even know what fashion was and never heard of make-up. A visit to her parents who live in a modest flat in a high-rise leads to a conversation about grandma, of whom only a few photos remain. The rest the family destroyed, for fear of being denounced for royal connections. The grandmother's feet were bound, she sparked little Guo Pei's imagination with her stories and her response to the eight-year-old girl's desire for a particular dress explains the yellow in the title. Fantasy is ever present and became reality in her 1002 Nights collection which featured the dress Rihanna saved from oblivion when she wore it on the red carpet to Anna Wintour's Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, curated by Andrew Bolton with film clips selected by Artistic Director Wong Kar Wai. The shoes are impossibly high, the garments heavier than rocks, she has 300 embroiderers working on the clothes, models shake in fear before walking her runway - and the result is utterly staggering. Read what Brettkelly and Carmen Dell’Orefice said about the film and our full review.

Shaun Of The Dead, ITV4, Monday, October 19, 9pm

Given the sheer volume of zombie films out there, it's hard to make your walking dead stand out from the crowd. But Edgar Wright, showed no fear with this comedy horror debut, which finds its strength in the normality of its characters - something that became a calling card in Wright's early films. Shaun (Simon Pegg) is just your average Joe, bumbling along with his mates and girlfriend and, for a considerable while, blissfully unaware of the zombie danger that is unfolding - with Wright gleefully taking a leaf out of George A Romero's book to show, through satire, how close human activities and reactions can come to the braindead at the best of times. Once he realises he's in trouble, he retires, in most British fashion, to the pub, with his mates, leading to an innovative series of showdowns, that serve up not just gore and laughs but a surprising amount of emotion. Read our full review.

Calm With Horses, Netflix, from October 26

A nuanced central performance from Cosmo Jarvis anchors this debut feature from Nick Rowland about a gangland enforcer who gets trapped in a moral maze. Arm (Rowland) finds himself increasingly torn between doing the bidding of Dympna (Barry Keoghan, in what feels like a rare role in his homeland these days), who calls the shots in his criminal clan -  and his responsibilities towards his autistic son and ex (Niamh Algar). The film is also notable for its moody and bleak exterior cinematography from Piers McGrail. Read our full review.

The Ladykillers, Film4, Monday, October 19, 4.55pm

The Coen Brothers may have had a second bash at this in 2004 but Alexander Mackendrick's deliciously dark original tale of a group of criminals who find their plans foiled by a little old lady is still the best. Alec Guinness may be the name that springs to mind when you think of it but his master criminal is matched step for step in this gleeful Ealing comedy by Katie Johnson, who plays dear Mrs Wilberforce, the unwitting lady from whom Guinness' ne'er do well rents his lodgings. Light and shadow play key roles in this collaboration between Mackendrick and cinematographer Otto Heller as the murkiness of the criminals (who also include Herbert Lom and Peter Sellers, in his breakthrough role) contrasts with the lavender and light of Mrs W. A restored version of the film, celebrating its 65th anniversary, is also going to be available in cinemas from Friday. Read our full review.

Hidden Figures, Film4, Thursday, October 22, 9pm

Some stories have taken a long time to be told - and this one, about the unsung backroom revolutionaries in NASAs space race is certainly one of them. African-American mathematicians Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson) acted as "human computers" for the space agency, running the numbers that would help to put astronauts in orbit - and bring them back again. Theodore Melfi accentuates the skill and passion of his three leads - with Spencer, Monáe and Henson all putting in gripping performances - that allows him to shine a light on not just overt but latent racism and white privilege, that still has plenty of resonance in the modern world. Read our full review.

This week's short, Creeling, tells the story of a teenager's shifting relationship with a local fisherman. Sam Firth was, at the time this was made, said to be working on a feature - we're hoping that comes to fruition sooner rather than later.

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