Stay-at-Home Seven: May 30 to June 5

Films to watch on TV or stream this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Cat People
Cat People
Cat People, 9.05pm,BBC4 Thursday, June 2, and then iPlayer

This 1942 film about a woman (Simone Simon) who fears that so much as kissing her husband (Kent Smith) will awaken an ancient curse that will turn her into a man-eating cat, is worth watching for its beautifully constructed visuals alone. More noir than horror in nature - especially for a modern audience - cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca's use of shadows to evoke fear and ambiguity is masterfully done. A scene in a swimming pool, which relies on sound design and the eerie reflections of the water upon the world to generate atmosphere, is particularly worthy of note. Beyond the look, Jacques Torneur's exploration of the immigrant experience in America, though embedded within the film's genre trappings, is also subtly moving. Don't miss I Walked With A Zombie, which screens immediately after it.

The Darjeeling Limited, 9pm, Great Movies, Friday, June 3

Wes Anderson is definitely a divisive filmmaker - with his eccentric, some might say on occasion, wayward plotting and distinctive visuals. But I'd say this film about a trio of brothers  Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Schwartzman), who go on a rail trip in India in a bid to reconnect is one of his more accessible and emotionally resonant. The confines of the train add to the comedy as an ulterior motive - involving their mother (Anjelica Huston) is revealed. Although this film has all the whimsy you would expect from Anderson, there's also a decent weight to the baggage - both literal and more metaphorical - that the director is interested in unpacking. Anderson fans can catch The Royal Tenenbaums the night before at the same time and The Life Aquatic on Saturday.

Pride, 10.25pm, BBC2, Friday, June 3 then on iPlayer

Jennie Kermode writes: Matthew Warchus’ energetic and often comedic film details what happened when, in 1984, a group of London-based LGBT activists decided to try and help striking miners in Wales. Naturally, there’s a culture clash, but once the miners realise that there is genuine concern for their welfare, a spirit of solidarity emerges and unexpected friendships form. There are many grim films out there which deal with the miners’ strikes but Pride is a reminder of the joy found in mutual support which enabled people to keep going.

Toy Story 2, 3.15pm. BBC1. Saturday, June 4

If there's one animated series that has consistently delivered it has to this one about Woody the Cowboy and his pals, which manage to simultaneously deliver laughs and adventure for children alongside a dollop of nostalgia for parents. In this second instalment - which was groundbreaking at the time in terms of the animation techniques - Woody is swiped by a toy collector. He finds himself torn between his old pals, who are making a bid to rescue him, and his new found friends in a way that is totally accessible and relatable for younger audiences as well as parents.

Radioactive, 9.30pm, BBC2, Sunday, June 5, then on iPlayer

Marie and Pierre Curie "did the double" in scientific terms, first taking home the Physics Nobel for radioactivity itself, then the Chemistry gong for radium and polonium. Taking an experimental leaf out of Lauren Redniss' graphic novel from which the film was adapted by Jack Thorne, director Marjane Satrapi not only outlines the story of Marie and her discoveries, in the face of establishment sexism that didn't even want to acknowledge her work, but also flashes forward in time to show how the end result has been employed for good and ill - via cancer treatment and nuclear bombs. Rosamund Pike imbues Marie with a fierce intelligence and a personality to match and Sam Riley keeps pace with her as Pierre.

Paddington 2, Netflix, from Wednesday, June 1

Speaking of film series that are solidly brilliant, this second batch of adventures featuring little bear with the big heart is arguably even more adorable than the original. Our furry Peruvian hero (voiced by Ben Wishaw) spends some time at Her Majesty's pleasure after he is framed for theft, alongside the almost equally furry Brendan Gleeson as the prison chef, a situation that sees them team up to tackle bad guy Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant, in the form of his life). First published Paul King's film retains the gentle spirit of the original stories, while bringing them alive for the current generation. Paddington arrived in bookshops just six years after the Queen took the throne but he's just as relevant now as he's always been.

The Coming War on China, Netflix, from Saturday

With all the points of conflict in the world at the moment, sometimes it's hard to take a step back but John Pilger's troubling documentary suggests we should also be keeping one eye on world events for trouble that might be lying ahead in the future. His film zeroes in on the hawkish activities of the US military in the Pacific, which also steps back in time to consider the historic impact of the country's presence there on the local populace. Pilger's argument may occasionally lack focus, and it could be argued that the dial may have shifted now Donald Trump is no longer in power, but he certainly makes a comprehensive case for paying more attention to and showing solidarity with the people of the Pacific.

There could only be one choice for our short this week, Hotel Chevalier, which was made and screened as an aperitif for The Darjeeling Limited - they are most certainly made to be watched as a pair, with the themes of the shorter movie recurring in the longer film. You'll just have to pop over to YouTube to watch it.

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