Stay-At-Home Seven - October 16 to 22

Films to catch on telly this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) Photo: Mass Distraction Media
Summer Of Soul, 10pm, Channel 4, Monday, October 16

As the nights start drawing in and the weather cools, if you're finding yourself yearning for the days of sultry summer rock festivals then this joyous celebration of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival should chase the blues away. The festival took place in the same year of Woodstock and was a free, six-week concert series that saw 300,000 attend. Questlove's film is packed with many of the electrifying performances, including everyone from Stevie Wonder and Mahala Jackson through to Gladys Knight and the Pips. It's edited with verve, celebrating the music but also clueing us in to the politics, news and cultural developments at the time. Beyond the joy of the music itself, the film also raises questions about how much of the world's history is still being allowed to languish uncelebrated due to long term male, white dominance in terms of selecting what we watch. If you miss it - and please do try not to - you can catch it again on 4Seven this Thursday at 12.40am.

Another Round, 1.15am, Channel 4, Tuesday, October 17

If you happen to have had a mid-week one too many and happen to stumble on Thomas Vinterberg's drama, it might make you think twice about over-drinking. A group of fed up teachers decide to embark on a boozy experiment and midlife crises are looming large for Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe). All of which means when one of them suggests they test Norwegian philosopher Finn Skårderud's theory that if humans were to maintain a 0.005% alcohol buzz they would perform better, it seems like a grand plan. Vinterberg and his co-writer Tobias Lindholm allow the upside - and comedy - of this to dominate initially, while gradually letting more serious themes about longing and hopefulness develop. Shot with verve by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, the end result is an enjoyably complex brew, with Mikkelsen getting a real chance to shine in the lead.

Midsommar,  10.55pm, Film4, Wednesday, October 18

Jennie Kermode writes: When Midsommar first came to the screen, it was understandably greeted with caution because it looked like yet another of the numerous Wicker Man rip-offs out there, and nobody expected very much of it. That was in part because despite her stunning turn in William Oldroyd's Lady Macbeth, Florence Pugh was still a little known quantity. In due course, both the film and its star would come to be seen very differently. Director Ari Aster sets the tone from the outset: an unhealthy relationship, a heartrending family tragedy, a young woman so crushed by it all than whenever she calls out her boyfriend on his frequent failures to consider her feelings, she's the one who ends up apologising. Everything changes when the said boyfriend reluctantly lets her accompany him and his friends on a trip to a remote village in Sweden inhabited by a cult which openly carries on an ancient way of life with a few fresh embellishments of its own. Communal living and cyclical time change the heroine's perspective in fundamental ways, leading to a poetically brutal dénouement which leaves open the question of whether she has found freedom or just another trap. It's psychologically astute, fierce in its critiques of academic ethnology, and beautifully designed. Pugh is superb.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints, 12.35am, Great Movies (Freeview channel, Saturday, October 21

Bob (Casey Affleck) and Ruthie (Rooney Mara)are at the point of love where much of what goes on between them passes in unspoken understanding and, with a baby on the way, what could go wrong? Just about everything as it turns out, thanks to the pair's criminal tendencies. Jailed after a bungled job, Bob breaks out and soon Ruthie is facing tough choices about the future for her and her daughter, while Bob is being hunted by more people than just the law.David Lowery's film has timeless and geographically vague quality that gives what is happening an mythical sweep, heightened by his dreamlike approach as he withholds key events from the audience in favour of focusing on the build-up to them and the aftermath and the magic hour warmth lent to the framing by DoP Bradford Young. Read our interview with David Lowery.

The Shining, BBC2, 11.05, Friday

Shocktober is, of course, upon us and along with Midsommar this is one of the best horrors on offer this week. Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling book leans into its ambiguities to unsettling effect. Recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes an off-season job at the Overlook Hotel, with his wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) - who also happens to be psychic - in tow. There are plenty of haunting visuals and supernatural elements at play here, but this is also a disturbing tale of domestic abuse and psychological fragmentation. Nicholson is at his unpredictable best here as the increasingly unhinged Jack, while Duvall's slip into desperation is also compelling. If, afterwards, you fancy a deeper dive into the Overlook and the film's themes, check out documentary Room 237, available to stream for free on Plex.

The Gravedigger's Wife, 1.45am Sunday, Film4

The gravedigger is Guled (Omar Abdi). His working life is spent waiting at the hospital for the dead and he finds himself caught trying to ward off the grim reaper at home after his wife Nasra (Yasmin Warsame) falls ill with kidney disease that only a $5,000 operation can cure. The story, which has a fable-like quality, unfolds in a straightforward fashion as Guled finds himself heading back to a hometown that is unlikely to roll out the welcome mat. Khadar Ayderus Ahmed's debut rests on the strong bond that he shows between the husband and wife and its simplicity is its strength.

The Captive Heart, 3.45am, Sunday, Talking Pictures TV (Freeview channel 82), Sunday, October 22

This drama set against the backdrop of a PoW camp was one of the first of its type, arriving less than a year after VE Day and speaking to those who were fully aware of the real thing. It features nuanced performances by Jack Warner and Mervyn Jons as friends before the war facing this together and brings home the tedium of camp life as well as the trouble. . The standout performance comes from Michael Redgrave, as a man who claims to be a British officer - having stolen the dead man's identity - and who soon falls under suspicion leading him to write to the dead man's wife (played by Redgrave's real life wife Rachel Kempson) with unexpected consequences. Although Basil Dearden occasionally lays on the melodrama a bit thick, this is largely a well-composed and emotionally hefty consideration of love and comradeship against the backdrop of war.

This week's short selection is Oscar-winning documentary A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness. Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is currently attached to Star Wars: New Jedi Order, so that's one to look out for.

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