Stay-at-Home Seven: May 13 to 20

Films to stream or watch on telly this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Sweat,, streaming now

Magnus von Horn's latest film The Girl With The Needle is heading to the main competition in Cannes this week, so this is a good chance to catch his previous outing. The interior world of a social media influencer bends and flexes beneath the surface of this determinedly ambiguous satire. You might ask who exactly is influencing whom after spending three days in the fastidiously documented world of Sylwia (Magdalena Kolesnik). She documents every inch of her day for her 600,000 followers but she finds herself emotionally rocked after a video goes viral. Von Horn questions where performances like this begin and end and to what extent laying your life out for the world paradoxically means battening your emotions in. Kolesnik is pitch perfect in the central role, keeping her character's warring feelings within touching distance.

The Night Of The Eagle, 10.10pm, Talking Pictures TV (Freeview Channel 82), Wednesday, May 15

This genuinely creepy black and white horror had the more lurid alternative title Burn, Witch, Burn in the US - which feels all wrong for the understated chills offered up by Sidney Hayers' film. The story centres on a sceptical academic (Peter Wyngarde, making a big impression in his first leading role on the big screen), who discovers his wife (Janet Blair) is a practising witch. His career has been going swimmingly, but when he takes her to task for her spells and protections, trouble starts to brew - with Hayers retaining an impressive ambiguity as to whether the rational or the supernatural holds the upper hand. With sharp chiaroscuro and use of a reel-to-reel recorder in the unsettling sound design, the suburban setting adds to the oppressive atmosphere, while its scrutiny of gender politics may well put you in mind of later horror hits like Rosemary's Baby and Stepford Wives.

You Were Never Really Here, 11.150pm, Film4, Friday

As the world waits for Lynne Ramsay's second film with Joaquim Phoenix - Polaris - to make it out into the world, here's a chance to catch their first. Ramsay delivers a viscerally tense consideration of abuse wrapped up inside this taut thriller, starring Phoenix as a suicidal hitman. The plot may be familiar turf - an assassin hunts for a missing girl - but Ramsay dives into the psychological waters of Joe's past and present at the same time as he is going through the motions of his job. Phoenix has rarely been better than here, damaged and determined, with scenes alongside Joe's mother (Judith Roberts) achieving a particularly heartbreaking poignancy. As Ramsay and Phoenix burrow deeper into the psyche of Joe, the mood intensifies - and it is us who find ourselves struggling to breathe.

The Drop, 9pm, Film4, Saturday, May 18

Best known for being James Gandolfini’s final film, the action of Michaël R Roskam’s crime-tale-cum-character study - with a screenplay adapted  by Denis Lehane from his own novel Animal Rescue - begins in a pub. It’s here we see how dirty cash is laundered through New York City with random bars nominated as “the drop” of the title. When a robbery breaks the routine, trouble isn’t far behind for barman Bob (played with taciturn depth by Tom Hardy) and his not-so-wise guy cousin/boss Marv (Gandolfini). The chief drivers of the plot are a puppy in peril, rescued by Bob, and the new woman in the barman’s life, Nadia (Naomi rap ace). Although threatening to go off the boil in one or two places, Hardy keeps you with Bob at the bar, listening to his story.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, BBC2, 12.50am, Sunday, May 19

Another Cannes-related title, as star Noémie Merlant is heading to the festival with her latest film behind the camera, The Balconettes - which is co-written by none other than Céline Sciamma. Here it's Sciamma who is doing the directing and she continued to prove she is one of France's modern leading filmmaking talents with this multiple award winner. A costume drama that delivers both in terms of craft and content, it tells the story of an artist (Merlant) hired to paint the portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), who is reluctantly preparing for an arranged marriage. Passion brews amid the paint pots and Sciamma carefully articulates the longing and freedom offered by their tryst, offering up a sensual exploration of artist and muse. Tension abounds, from Marianne's initial fear of having her secret project discovered to problems thrown up by forbidden love, but Sciamma always keeps the female gaze front and centre.

The Place Beyond The Pines, BBC2,12.05am Monday, May 20

Anne-Katrin Titze writes: Breathing and carnival noises - Ryan Gosling, covered in tattoos up to his throat, bleached blond, with a knife, invites us to follow him. Across the fairground we stroll, as he puts on layers of clothing, first a torn tank top, then a jacket, striptease in reverse. He signs autographs for little girls. He is Luke, a motorcycle stunt driver for the carnival. There is Eva Mendes as Romina, in a tank top of her own; does he remember her? He gives her a ride. Ben Mendelsohn, with the same acuteness he gives his dog trading idiot robber in Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, adds a mysteriously benign presence. Bradley Cooper portrays police officer Avery Cross, a rookie from a wealthy family. He chews gum to calm his nerves. Ray Liotta, who plays the good bad guy in Killing Them Softly and a badly corrupt police officer called Deluca under Derek Cianfrance's direction, looks clean as a whistle.The Place Beyond the Pines, tells stories of fatherhood with a fine-tuned generosity, as haunted men cycle through patterns spinning out of control. Read more about fathers, sons and rebellion in the film The Place Beyond The Pines.

The Mauritanian, Netflix, streaming now

The US military's behaviour in Guantanamo Bay is viewed through the prism of a single inmate's experience in Kevin Macdonald's film, which is adapted from Mohamedou Ould Slahi's memoir. Slahi was held at the prison for 14 years without trial under suspicion of having helped the 9/11 terrorists and the film charts what happened to Slahi (Tahar Rahim) as lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her assistant (Shaylene Woodley) took on his case. In a separate, though connected story, we follow conservative military lawyer Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch, doing a surprisingly good job with a southern American accent) who has been tasked with prosecuting Slahi - and who shows that integrity is not solely the province of those on the left of politics. This is a film that is about procedure but it becomes gripping thanks largely to Rahim, who brings every ounce of stoic humanity to the central role. Like Adam Driver-starrer The Report, the US Detention and Interrogation programme (for which read, torture) is held up to the light - although the direct violence shown is used sparingly. But The Mauritanian proves more memorable by keeping its focus on the single case at its heart, it's a slow build but once it begins to grip it doesn't let go. Read our interview with Macdonald - whose latest film, documentary Klitschko: More Than a Fight is the opening gala at this year's Sheffield DocFest.

This week's short is actually a selection of them, the 15 LGBTQ+ films shortlisted for last year's Iris Prize. They're all available on Channel 4's streaming service in baches of 5, here's one of them

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