5 things to watch this bank holiday weekend – 26 to 29 May

A gardener hides a dark past, Succession draws to a climax, and a visceral doc takes us inside the human body.

26 May 2023

By Sam Wigley

Succession season finale (2023)

Where’s it on? Sky Atlantic/Now TV, Monday, 2am

Succession series 4 (2023)

The Roy family saga reaches its endgame this bank holiday weekend, with the final, feature-length episode of the fourth and last season premiering overnight on Sunday. We’ve got just 90 minutes left of the lethal sibling rivalries and jostling for position that have made this show such compulsive viewing since it launched in summer 2018. No spoilers here for viewers who aren’t yet up to date, but Jesse Armstrong’s darkly funny media drama has myriad loose ends to tie up and no doubt plenty of twists and power moves still to play out. It’s the thing everyone will be talking about on Monday, just like it ever was.

Master Gardener (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Paul Schrader continues his late-career purple patch with another of his fascinating studies of loner men trying to keep a lid on a dark past. In the case of Joel Edgerton’s horticulturist, it’s a violent former life as a neo-Nazi that simmers to the surface again as he attempts to protect an apprentice in his charge – the niece (Quintessa Swindell) of his wealthy boss and lover (Sigourney Weaver). Forming a loose trilogy with Schrader’s First Reformed (2017) and The Card Counter (2021), Master Gardener is set in the grounds of a southern plantation house, a genteel setting scarred with its own violent history. 

La Règle du jeu (1939)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Here is a film that Schrader once called the “quintessential movie”. Jean Renoir’s classic upstairs-downstairs satire also has a country-house setting – the chateau where Marcel Dalio’s marquis has invited his social circle for a shooting weekend. A fixture on greatest films lists, despite its disastrous and controversial initial release in France, La Règle du jeu is the source of the line “Everybody has their reasons”, so often taken as the guiding philosophy of Renoir’s world view. It draws an ensemble of aristocrats, servants, an aviator and a poacher into a serenely chaotic comedy of manners that’s by turns biting, sad and hilarious.

Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Saturday, 9.30pm

Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Chimes at Midnight is one of those ragged masterpieces that Orson Welles made when he was no longer Hollywood’s bright young thing but an exiled and itinerant filmmaker struggling to cobble together funds for his passion projects in Europe. His third Shakespeare film, it was shot in Spain and stars Welles himself as the swaggering, corpulent and rambunctious Sir John Falstaff, companion to the young Prince Hal. The elegiac title comes from a line in Henry IV Part 2, with Welles’s script ambitiously combining Falstaff scenes from that and four other Shakespeare plays. The result is a character study of great poignancy and irreverence, told with barrelling visual invention.

De Humani Corporis Fabrica (2022)

Where’s it on? Mubi

Not for the faint-hearted, this astonishing voyage inside the human body is the latest visceral documentary from Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, the French duo behind that intensely physical sea-life doc Leviathan (2012). Like a non-fiction version of inside-the-body sci-fi films like Fantastic Voyage (1966) and Innerspace (1987), it takes us on a disorientating adventure into the squelchy innards of various patients undergoing operations in Paris hospitals. We see procedures on a brain, a penis, an eyeball and more, all filmed in graphic detail by surgical micro-cameras while we listen in on the surgeons’ mordant operating-theatre chat. 

BFI Player logo

Discover exceptional cinema

See something different on demand.

Start your free trial