Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide
The gap between social media and real life, and the dangers of navigating it, is the framework for this very human, carefully told Egyptian feature. Moving between the Nile Delta city of Zagazig and coastal Alexandria, it revolves around 19-year-old Souad (Bassant Ahmed) and her 16-year-old sister Rabab (Basmala Elghaiesh), both the product of a religiously conservative family background but with their heads turned by the world of boys, fashion and Facebook. From the moment we meet her, it’s clear that Souad’s life is one of constantly recalibrating the way she presents herself. Ayten Amin’s resonant drama will steer a tragic course through the pressures and perils facing teenagers in a society that’s hyper-connected but still bound by tradition.
Deep Cover (1992)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray
Among the great crime films of the 1990s, Deep Cover found director Bill Duke building on the noirish trappings of A Rage in Harlem (1991) to arrive at a properly murky story about narcotics and law enforcement. Laurence Fishburne is the cop going undercover to infiltrate a West Coast drug cartel, with Jeff Goldblum on reptilian form as the kingpin. Although that very 90s-thriller title suggests you’re in for something compulsively watchable but run of the mill, only the first of those turns out to be true. Full of interesting choices, Duke’s innovative direction creates a remarkable mood of danger and paranoia, out of which emerge all kinds of provocative suggestions about the war on drugs.
The River (1951)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray
Four years after Powell and Pressburger’s Black Narcissus (1947), which the author hated, a Rumer Godden novel also formed the basis of this first colour film by Jean Renoir. Although likewise set in colonial India, the tone could scarcely be more different. Where Black Narcissus is intense and neurotic, The River flows with serene warmth and wisdom as it charts the life of an English family living by the Ganges. Rivers had been a recurring focus for Renoir since classics of the 1930s such as Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932) and Partie de campagne (1936) – they’re an essential metaphor for his view of life forever moving on. The River is something like Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) in its melancholy study of young sisters resisting such change. It’s one of Renoir’s finest.
Only You (2018)
Where’s it on? BBC2, Friday, 11.05pm
With Harry Wootliff’s second feature, an adaptation of Deborah Kay Davies’ novel True Things About Me, about to get its world premiere at Venice, here’s a chance to catch up with her debut. Only You is a bruisingly immediate relationship drama featuring Laia Costa and Josh O’Connor as a young couple with a decade age gap who meet on New Year’s Eve and fall in love. When they later struggle to conceive a child, their bond is put through an emotional wringer – with Wootliff following the fallout without either taking sides or pushing manipulative buttons. It’s tender, raw and full of humane insight.
Raging Bull (1980)
Where’s it on? Film4, Sunday, 11.20pm
Showered with accolades since its release in 1980, Raging Bull has, maybe just a little, ceded some ground to Taxi Driver (1976) and GoodFellas (1990) as the most venerated of Martin Scorsese’s several masterpieces. Or perhaps that’s tilting at windmills. More than 40 years on, this boxing biopic still looks like a champ: a monochrome marvel with one foot in Italian neorealism, the other in John Cassavetes’ scalding domestic dramas, and scored to the mournful intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. The cast assembled many of Marty’s nearest and dearest – Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, his dad Charles – and look out for John Turturro making his uncredited screen debut as ‘man at table’.