Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray
We’re not really suggesting watching Salò this weekend, we’re just letting you know it’s there. Out in a newly restored version on Blu-ray, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film is still among the cinema’s most notoriously extreme offerings, close to half a century after its release in 1975. An adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s novel The 120 Days of Sodom, it takes place in the fascist republic of Salò during the Second World War, where four pleasure-seeking libertines round up a group of teenagers, incarcerate them in a palace and subject them to months of rape, torture and games of sadistic perversion. Premiering three weeks after the director’s murder, Pasolini’s final film is a horrifying last testament that Michael Haneke has called “the only film that has managed to show violence for what it is”.
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Where’s it on? BBC2, Sunday, 12.30pm
Fleshly pursuits are a more simple proposition in this sunny caper from Alfred Hitchcock. “Do you want a leg or a breast?,” asks picnicking Riviera socialite Grace Kelly (in one of her last roles before she became the ultimate Riviera socialite as Princess of Monaco) of a bemused Cary Grant. Grant is retired cat burglar John Robie, who comes under suspicion after a spate of thefts plagues the Côte d’Azur. His wrong-man theme present and correct, Hitchcock nonetheless takes his foot off the suspense pedal in To Catch a Thief in favour of sun-kissed Mediterranean mischievousness – although scenes of Grant and Kelly driving the winding, cliff-hugging Grande Corniche now have a melancholic undertow, as Kelly met her death there in 1982. BBC2 are screening the film on Sunday afternoon, with a Cary Grant profile following straight afterwards.
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Where’s it on? Film4, Friday, 11pm
The all but inescapable film in cinemas this weekend is Todd Phillips’ wildly divisive Golden Lion winner Joker, but if you want to see Joaquin Phoenix in intense loner mode from the comfort of your armchair, Film4 have you covered with an airing for Lynne Ramsay’s 90-minute gut punch of an action thriller, You Were Never Really Here. A welcome return to form for Ramsay after her overcooked problem-child drama We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011), this adaptation of Jonathan Ames’ 2013 novella has Phoenix as Joe, a traumatised hitman who specialises in liberating trafficked girls from their captors. Urgent, splintered editing puts us inside the troubled mind of a man who’s seen too much, while Jonny Greenwood offers more proof that his avant-garde-inflected scores are the best out there right now. Compare and contrast with Joker, and marvel at the long shadow cast by a certain film about a lonely cabbie more than 40 years later.
The Shining (1980)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray
Stephen King might not have liked it, but few others would disagree that Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of King’s novel The Shining ranks with the very best of horror films. Reasons to revisit it right now include a) the approach of Halloween and b) the arrival of a new 4K version on Blu-ray. One might also argue that Kubrick’s film looks like a key influence on the much buzzed about quasi-horror movie of the moment: Robert Eggers’ brine-encrusted two-hander The Lighthouse. Like Eggers’ film, The Shining revolves around a man losing his grip after accepting seasonal work in a forbiddingly isolated location, in this case The Overlook hotel – a lodge high in the Rockies which winter snowfall makes all but unreachable and where horrible histories are doomed to repeat themselves.
Paris Is Burning (1990)
Where’s it on? BBC4, Monday, 1.45am
Jennie Livingstone’s record of the 1980s drag scene in New York has received bucket loads of acclaim (and no small amount of controversy) since its first release. Livingstone was fresh out of film school when she first encountered the voguing and ball culture then popular among the city’s LGBTQ community, gaining access to vividly document the looks, moves, people and poses of an irrepressible NYC subculture. These days, Paris Is Burning is a canonical documentary, and a key queer film, being voted the fifth-best LGBTQ film of all time in a 2015 BFI poll. BBC4 are showing it late at night in their Arena slot.