5 things to watch this weekend – 20 to 22 October

Martin Scorsese excavates a dark chapter of American history, John le Carré spins tales of his own life, and... what’s this? An Agnès Varda Christmas film?

20 October 2023

By Sam Wigley

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI IMAX

Rivalling his The Irishman (2019) in running time and surpassing it in historical gravity, Martin Scorsese’s latest period epic is a landmark in Hollywood’s belated grappling with America’s treatment of its Indigenous people. Based on journalist David Grann’s 2017 true crime book about the Osage Indian murders in the 1920s in Osage County, Oklahoma, following the discovery of oil on tribal lands, it’s one of the great director’s meatiest and most deeply engaged offerings to date – a brutal and complex journey into a dark chapter of the American past. Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone star.

The Pigeon Tunnel (2023)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

The slippery subject of this new documentary from Errol Morris is the late spy novelist John le Carré, real name David Cornwell. Between the publication of his 2016 memoir The Pigeon Tunnel and his death in 2020, le Carré joined Morris for an expansive interview about his dramatic life – his upbringing by a con artist father, his time as a spy for MI5 and MI6, and his huge success as a writer of Cold War intrigues and labyrinthine fictions. Morris presents their discussion in his trademark, propulsive style – complete with dramatised re-enactments and borne along on a driving orchestral score. Holding forth with learned charm and a mischievous gift for obfuscation, le Carré is a riveting teller of tales.

I Know Where I’m Going! (1945)

In 1945, British cinema gave us two of the all-time greatest screen romances: David Lean’s Brief Encounter, of course, but also this windswept delight from filmmaking duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Wendy Hiller plays the determined young woman who sets off for Scotland in order to marry a rich industrialist, but inclement weather strands her on the Isle of Mull and the place and its people begin to work a strange charm on her. Like their A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I’m Going is steeped in a mystical sense of the British landscape, and the eerie power of its mists and atmospheres. This new restoration is a collaboration between the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation in association with ITV

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Sunday, 18:55

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

It was Powell and Pressburger’s 1947 film Black Narcissus that gave Deborah Kerr her most famous turn as a nun, but she was back in the habit for this 1957 John Huston romance about the slowly thawing relations between a Roman Catholic sister (Kerr) and an earthy US Marine (Robert Mitchum) who are thrown together as solitary castaways on a South Pacific island during the Second World War. Huston had tried this clash of the prim and the improper before in The African Queen (1951), with Katharine Hepburn’s missionary chafing with Humphrey Bogart’s booze-soaked boat captain on a journey upriver. The recipe works again, though, thanks to combustible chemistry between Kerr and Mitchum.

Christmas Carole (1966)

Where’s it on? cinematheque.fr

Christmas Carole (1966)

It’s definitely too early to be recommending Christmas films, yet here is a real curio: fragments from an abandoned Agnès Varda Christmas movie. Surfacing this week on the Cinémathèque française website, it amounts to just shy of five minutes of tests that Varda shot on 35mm and 16mm with three young actors for a romantic story set during the Christmas holidays. We see them wandering Paris streets that are festooned with festive lights, in a tantalising glimpse of a French New Wave seasonal film that was never to be. The story goes that when Varda showed these tests to producers, they liked neither the footage nor the actors – a face-palm decision given one of them is a debuting Gérard Depardieu.

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