5 things to watch this weekend – 21 to 23 July

Five other than the two you already know about…

21 July 2023

By Sam Wigley

My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

In the internet-swallowing showdown this weekend between Greta Gerwig’s fuschia-drenched toy-de-force Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s megaton historical saga Oppenheimer, Mark Cousins’ latest cinephile documentary makes for an impudent underdog. In another of Cousins’ customary leaps of imagination, it hits upon a novel and inspired way of getting to grips with the Master of Suspense’s movies: through his own (supposed) words. With Alistair McGowan impersonating, the Master’s voice leads us through a wealth of clips from the Hitchcock oeuvre, giving fresh insights and making plenty of persuasive connections. 

Thieves like Us (1974)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Thieves like Us (1974)

From Bonnie and Clyde (1967) to Badlands (1973), criminal couples on the run had a long moment in the sun during the New Hollywood era. Robert Altman turned in a typically flavoursome entry in the crimewave with this period piece in which Altman regulars Keith Carradine and Shelley Duvall play Bowie and Keechie – a fresh-faced young bank robber and the garageman’s daughter he falls head over heels for. Key to Altman’s evocative recreation of 1930s Mississippi are both the restless zooms that draw us into the action and the absence of a score. Instead, we hear snatches of forgotten songs of the era playing over the radio.

Dawn of a New Day (1964)

Where’s it on? BFI Player

Dawn of a New Day (1964)

Imagine a stylised Technicolor melodrama by Vincente Minnelli or Douglas Sirk transposed to 1960s Cairo and you’ll start to see the appeal of this May-December romance from Egyptian auteur Youssef Chahine. It offers a similar blend of biting satire and heady emotion. Chahine fills the frame with abstracted colours and packed compositions as he relays the affair between a wealthy middle-aged woman, bored in her marriage, and a young science student. Like Oppenheimer, he’s an atomic physicist, and his attitudes expose her to the winds of social change sweeping through Egypt. 

Gallivant (1996)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Gallivant (1996)

Andrew Kötting’s one-of-a-kind debut feature is a peripatetic diary film that sees the filmmaker travelling around the coastline of Great Britain in the company of his 85-year-old grandmother and his seven-year-old daughter Eden – the latter born with the rare genetic disorder Joubert Syndrome. Both his companions have a limited life expectancy, which undercuts their journey with a pervasive sense of mortality – although in fact Eden is still alive today. Away from the Cool Britannia-adjacent showiness of the era’s more commercial British films, Gallivant offered a puckish portrait of a nation, rooted in the individuality of its people, places and traditions.

Jour de fête (1949)

Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Sunday, 7pm

Jour de fête (1949)
Image credit: Les Films de Mon Oncle

Pre-Monsieur Hulot, Jacques Tati practised his long-legged bumbler persona playing the accident-prone rural postman in this classic comedy. Tati’s directorial debut, Jour de fête takes place on fête day in the small town of Sainte-Sévère-sur-Indre, a gentle backwater where the first whiffs of modernity are wafting in on post-war breezes. Tati’s postman François does his round by bicycle, stopping to help pitch some hay here or erect a flagpole there. But when he drops by the fête’s cinema tent and sees a film demonstrating the speedy efficiency of the US postal service, he decides it’s time to up his own game – with hilarious and catastrophic results.

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