Stay-at-Home Seven: May 16 to 22

Films to stream or catch on TV this week

by Amber Wilkinson

The Childhood Of A Leader
The Childhood Of A Leader
The Childhood Of A Leader, MUBI now

There's a dysfunctional mother and child relationship at the heart of Brady Corbet's debut chiller, a fable about fascism that unfolds episodically in moments from a young boy's life in rural France. The focus is the youngster's tantrums, which spiral increasingly as the film progresses, with Corbet careful to show that the kid (Tom Sweet) is as much of a victim as he is a villain, steeping in isolation and the stress of a household that is kept strictly in line by his father (Liam Cunningham). As Corbet told us: "He’s just a bit blank and I think that people find that incredibly unsettling." Featuring often disorienting camerawork from British cinematographer Lol Crawley and an emotionally turbulent score from Scott Walker, the film loops destructively forward, dragging us in its wake. You can also read what Corbet told us about history repeating itself here

The Graduate, 10.15pm, BBC2, Tuesday, May 17

It seems almost impossible to believe there was a time Dustin Hoffman was unknown to international audiences, but he was largely an off-Broadway star when he hit the big-time in Mike Nichols' sharp satire (which he dropped out of Mel Brooks' The Producers to take on - alongside Brooks' wife Anne Bancroft). He plays Benjamin, a nervy, virginal student who is seduced by his parents' predatory and desperately bored fortysomething friend Mrs Robinson (Bancroft). More than 50 years on, if anything, the deliciously black comedy about middle-class anxieties and intergenerational warfare bites even deeper now than it did then.

Prince Of Muck, 9pm, BBC4, Wednesday, May 18

When it comes to eccentricity, the British take some beating and this documentary portrait of a laird and his family is a case in point. Lawrence MacEwen is the laird of Muck in Scotland's Small Isles, a tiny scrap of land with a population of about 30. He is less 'landed gentry' than a man of the land, with a fierce connection to his cows and the island. He is also ageing and this film hits a melancholic note as we see the tensions that exist within his family and, particularly, between him and his son - with reminders of MacEwen in his early stronger years coming from archive footage and snippets he reads from the family diary. More than anything else, this is a poetic celebration of man's connection to nature and sheer hard graft.

Citizen Kane, 9pm, BBC4, Thursday, May 19

Orson Welles' film regularly tops 'best loved' lists for a reason, even if there was a bit of a storm in a teacup after Paddington 2 overtook it in the best reviewed stakes on Rotten Tomatoes last year. If you haven't seen it before, now's your chance to see what all the fuss is about in Welles' superior tale, which sees a reporter (William Alland) piecing together the story of the life of a newspaper magnate (Welles) after his death. A masterclass in technique from cinematographer Gregg Tolland, from the oppressive ceilings and deep focus that pulls you into its Dutch angles and chiaroscuro, it is matched by Welles' muscular performance at its heart. I'll leave you to mull over a marmalade sandwich if it deserves its oft touted 'best film ever' tag, but it's most certainly up there.

Basic Instinct, 9pm, Great Movies (Freeview Channel 34), Friday, May 20

Paul Verhoeven's superior erotic thriller - recently back in the British consciousness courtesy of Tory slurs about Deputy Labour Leader Angela Reiner - sees a flawed hard-bitten detective (Michael Douglas) fall for the prime suspect, author Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in a murder case. Given that Tramell's latest novel is about a cop who falls for the wrong girl, could life be about to imitate art? Both the central characters are engagingly complex and the boudoir scenes are as provocative as you might expect from the Dutch director. The material is also lifted by the two actors firmly on top of their game, some nice Hitchcock riffs and a terrific supporting cast that includes Jeanne Tripplehorn and George Dzunda.

Land Of Mine, 12.45am, BBC2, Sunday, May 22, and then on iPlayer

It's worth staying up to the small hours - or catching with this tension-filled post-Second World War drama on iPlayer, which deservedly got a foreign language Oscar nomination in 2017 (where it lost out to The Salesman). Martin Zandvliet's film shows how German PoWs were pressed into service, demining huge swathes of the Danish coastline. The soldiers are little more than children, which adds to the sense of their vulnerability under the stern eye of Sargent Rasmussen (Roland Møller), who softens as the film progresses, in this situation where death can arrive in an unexpected heartbeat.

This Is Spinal Tap, iPlayer, until June

The high water mark for mockumentaries was on telly at the same time as a small affair called Eurovision at the weekend - but you can still catch up with this comedy classic on iPlayer. The trick is in the tone of this Heavy Metal send up, as Spinal Tap (played by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer) gear up for a comeback tour and a new album - the fabulously named Smell The Glove - while being followed by a documentarian (Rob Reiner). There's something sweetly charming about these lads in a film which also gets its musical notes right. There is currently a sequel - made by the original team - in the works for a 2024 release.  "You want to honor the first one and push it a little further with the story,” Reiner told Deadline - wonder if he'll turn it up to 12?

We're heading back to the landscapes in the north of Scotland for our short selection this week. Jasper Coppes' film immerses us in the nature of Flow Country - the nation's peatland.

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