Stay-at-Home Seven: June 3 to 9

Films to stream or catch on telly this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Against The Tide
Against The Tide Photo: Courtesy of Snooker Club Films
Against The Tide, 10pm, BBC4, Tuesday, June 4

This documentary considers the environmental impact of fishing - and a lot more besides - from the perspective of two friends, who are members of India's traditional Koli fishing community. Rakesh acquires his catch by the age-old methods passed down to him through the generations in his small boat. Ganesh, meanwhile, returned from studying abroad and turned to the world of bigger boats and deeper waters for his trade. Nevertheless, both men face the problem of dwindling catches, with Rakesh's problems further exacerbated by the fact his newborn son has health problems. Sarvnik Kaur takes a fly-on-the-wall approach and the trust she has built with the men and their families shows in the intimate result. Moving and melancholic, the director finds hopefulness in the friendship of the men and the traditions of this small community. As Kaur explained to us: "I think this film could only have been made because there was five years spent on it." Plus we talked about the challenges of maintaining a distance when filming over a long time like that.

Gasoline Rainbow, MUBI, streaming now

Hybrid films that blur the line between fact and fiction are increasingly common these days, but brothers Bill and Turner Ross have been successfully exploring that borderland for years. They find the sweet spot again with this teenage road trip, that sees a group of youngsters, fresh from school but before college or work, head from their small town in Oregon for the Pacific coast and a party that has almost mythic status in their minds. They view it as  “one last fun adventure we can all do together” and that pretty much sums up the vibe of this loose-limbed exploration of what it means to still have the freewheeling optimism of youth. Lightly structured, a strong documentary element comes from segments of voice-over which the directors recorded before the film was shot, which reveal the teenagers' real hopes and concerns and act as an emotional counterweight to the rest of the film.

The Blue Caftan, 1am, Wednesday, June 5

Halim (Saleh Bakri) and Mina (Lubna Azabal, with a physically as well as emotionally committed performance) run a family tailors and find the fabric of their own life shifting when they take on an apprentice (Ayoub Missioui). Maryam Touzami's finely nuanced drama celebrates the tradition of caftan tailoring, while also exploring what it means to break with cultural expectations. As Touzani told us: "I do believe there are certain traditions that need to be questioned, that need to be changed, that need to be shaken up." In her carefully wrought film they are not so much shaken as gently stirred to strong effect.

God's Own Country, 1.05am, Channel 4, Thursday, June 6

Josh O'Connor has become a global star in the years since he starred in this small British drama - with both mainstream fare like Challengers and more nice films like La Chimera both in cinemas at the moment. He plays Johnny Saxby in Francis Lee's earthy debut, a young farmer who finds his horizons and heart broadened by the arrival of seasonal worker Gheorghe Ionescu (Alec Secareanu).  An emotionally raw and turbulent tale leavened by sweetness, Lee's father is a farmer and it shows in the detail he brings to the drama, which is largely set against the backdrop of lambing season and which is evocative of the feel and smell of the farm as well as the look. The filmmaker is also acutely aware of the landscape, which opens up as Johnny's relationship with Gheorghe begins to bloom. Lee told us about achieving that authenticity, while O'Connor and Secareanu also discussed their roles.

Hit Man, Netflix, from Friday, June 7

It's not long since I was highlighting the irony that the plane crash sequence in Society Of The Snow - surely one of the most visceral collective cinema experiences of last year - was more or less heading straight to streaming and now I'm back with another one. There's a segment in Hit Man that calls out to be enjoyed by a summer popcorn crowd who are in on the joke - so all I can do is beg you to get a few mates round to at least emulate it a little bit. It comes a fair way into this Richard Linklater's film about a dull philosophy professor (Glen Powell), who discovers he has a much more devil-may-care side after he starts working undercover as a pretend assassin for the police. When his path crosses that of Madison (Adria Adjona) - who wants to off her ex - things take a turn for the steamy, not to mention the complicated. Funny and surprisingly frisky, this is a pacy joy from start to finish. As Powell, wo co-wrote the film, puts it: "The more we talked about it the more magic we found." It certainly has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Full review coming soon.

The Others, 11.10pm, Friday, June 7

Alejandro Amenabar’s atmospheric ghost story remains unsettling even if you’ve seen it before and know what’s coming. The tale is set in an old mansion, with plenty of dark corners that get to hold sway because the two children who live there, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), are very light sensitive and have to avoid the sun. They live with their brittle mum (Nicole Kidman), who is on edge from the start, not least because she is waiting for news from her husband (Christopher Eccleston), who has been off fighting the Second World War. Amenabar builds the mood with the staples of gothic horror, but his bumps in the night and creaking floors and doors never feel gimmicky or over-used and the underlying emotion of the script packs an unexpected punch even on repeat viewings.

Playground, 2.35am, Film4, Saturday, June 8

The schoolyard is a warzone in Laura Wandel’s bullying drama. Nora (Maya Vanderbeque) is scared on her first day at school and Wandel ensures we go emotionally with her as she says goodbye to her dad at the gates. She, in fact, begins to forge some tentative friendships but soon discovers that her brother Abel (Günter Duret) is not being so lucky. Wandell keeps us with Nora as she faces the unenviable task of trying to work out the right thing to do in the face of pressure to keep silent. Wandel’s gripping drama shows that playground politics are anything but child’s play. Read what Wandel told us about developing the script through workshops with the children.

We're wrapping up this week's viewing with Oscar-nominated short Oktapodi. Nice to see that one of its directors Julien Bocabeille is still in the animation business, working on the likes of Ruby Gillman and Kung Fu Panda 4 recently.

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