Recommended films on TV


For those who missed their holidays this year, a reminder that while the sun in Greece can be lovely, it can be dangerous too. In Suntan (2016), Kostis, a middle-aged general practitioner, arrives on an island in winter. The locals assure him that come summer the place will be bursting with hedonistic young people. So it proves, and Kostis becomes obsessed with them and especially a girl called called Anna, who is half his age. Thereafter his behaviour becomes increasingly embarrassing and shameful as he is drawn into a world of doomed infatuation and desire.

Suntan divided the critics, but The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave it four stars and described it as “a superbly directed, quietly devastating film” It includes a lot of uninhibited sex and nudity, but then it is set on a Greek island in summer. It is on Film4 on Thursday (1/10) at 01:10.

World Cinema

The Midwife (2017) unites two great stars of French cinema, Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot, in a tearstained drama about a growing friendship between a midwife and her dead father’s mistress. That’s on Saturday (26/9) on BBC2 at 00:45 and subsequently on iPlayer.

On Sunday (27/9) at 21:00, Film4 has Snowpiercer (2013) by Bong Joon-Ho, director of the all-conquering Parasite. In a dystopian future, everyone is dead except a few survivors who travel on a train that never stops. On board, a grim class struggle leads to an orgy of violence. Korean in origin and style, but with a largely Western cast.

On Tuesday (29/9) at 23:45, Film4 has Departure, a drama set in Languedoc with a family struggling to come to terms with the young son’s coming out and coming of age. In English and French and starring Juliet Stevenson.

Channel 4’s Indian film season continues on Wednesday (30/9) at 01:30 with Manthan (“The Churning”), a Hindi feature about India’s “white revolution”, which turned the country from a milk importer to a huge exporter. Said to have been crowdfunded by the 500,000 members of a Gujarat milk-farming cooperative, who each contributed two rupees, but that may be fake news.

On Film4 at 01:55 on Wednesday (30/9), there is Things to Come (2016), nothing to do with H.G. Wells but a French feature starring Isabelle Huppert as a philosophy teacher. Her mother dies, she falls out with her publisher, her husband commits adultery. It couldn’t be more French, but who’s complaining?

Stephen Ilott’s picks

Apart from Suntan, Stephen has picked a selection of classics. Basil Dearden’s Sapphire (1959) is about racial tensions in London. That’s on Talking Pictures on Saturday (26/9) at 23:10. On BBC2 on Sunday (27/9) at 16:50, and subsequently on iPlayer, there is Hitchcock’s masterpiece, North by Northwest (1959). On Tuesday (29/9) at 18:45, Stephen has picked Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) on Talking Pictures, a thriller with Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough as a medium and her husband who stage a kidnapping in order to “solve” the mystery. On Film4 on Wednesday (30/9), there is This Happy Breed (1944), the wartime domestic drama based on a Noel Coward play. That’s at 16:40. Finally, Stephen has picked The Fallen Idol (1948), on Talking Pictures on Thursday (1/10) at 10:10. It’s an intense Carol Reed feature, about a child who thinks he has seen a murder and tries to cover up, from a Graham Greene short story.

Other modern films of note

On Saturday (26/9) at 21:45, BBC2 has McQueen (2018), a documentary portrait of the tragic fashion director Alexander McQueen. On the same channel at 23:30, and subsequently on iPlayer, there is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), the drama about two eight-year-olds seeing the Holocaust from opposite sides of a concentration camp wire. Affecting, but highly criticised for historical implausibility.

On Monday (28/9) at 23:15, Film4 has Dark River (2017), Clio Barnard’s exercise in “farm noir”, with an excellent Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley and Sean Bean.

On Tuesday (21/9) at 21:00, Film4 has War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), the third in the “reboots” of the franchise.

On Wednesday (30/9) at 23:10, 5 Star offers another chance to see Kill Bill Vol 2 (2004), with Uma Thurman in search of revenge.

On Thursday (1/10) at 23:20, Film4 offers True Grit (2010), sparkily written and directed by the Coen Brothers, with young Hailee Steinfeld, and Jeff Bridges in the role made famous by John Wayne.


A packed selection on Saturday (26/9). On 5 Star at 10:35 there is Oliver! (1968), starring Cheltenham’s Mark Lester. On Talking Pictures at 18:00, there is The Blue Lamp (1950), the film that introduced PC George Dixon. On Film4 at 18:40, there is Back To the Future Part III (1990). More interesting is Terrence Malick’s epic Pacific War movie The Thin Red Line (1998), on Paramount at 21:00.

Sunday (27/9) brings us the crime drama Dead End (1937) on 5 Select at 12:15. At 19:10, Talking Pictures has The Importance of Being Earnest (1952).

On Monday (28/9) at 09:55, Sony Action has Crossfire (1947), a 1947 noir thriller about anti-semitism.

Two notable oldies on Talking Pictures on Tuesday (29/9). The Lost Moment (1947), a psychological thriller, is on at 01:10. The Court Jester (1955), a Danny Kaye musical, is on at 14:40.

On Wednesday (30/9) at 18:50, Film4 has The Madness of King George (1994).

Talking Pictures has two interesting older films on Thursday (1/10). At 00:45 there is Three Came Home (1950), a true-life WWII internment camp drama, and at 06:00 there is The Southerner (1945), a Jean Renoir film about cotton farmers, made during his sojourn in the USA.

Finally for this week, Talking Pictures has I Remember Mama (1948), about Norwegian immigrants in California. That’s on Friday (2/10) at 11:20.

John Morrish and Stephen Ilott