The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - EVAN WIL­LIAMS

IF the great­est of all bal­let films and the great­est of all Charles Dick­ens’s adap­ta­tions can’t get you to switch to the ABC in the small hours of the morn­ing, per­haps noth­ing will. Stick with Brady Bunch se­quels and some­thing on SBS about lonely coke- ad­dicted Turk­ish im­mi­grants in Ham­burg ( to which I’ll re­turn in a mo­ment).

Great Ex­pec­ta­tions ( Mon­day, 12.30am, ABC) is still the best film of the au­thor’s work and the best ex­am­ple of David Lean’s di­rec­tion. It be­gins with that fa­mously scary grave­yard scene and in­cludes, among other great things, a su­perbly daffy Mar­tita Hunt as Miss Hav­isham, Jean Sim­mons as the young Estella ( two years be­fore she played Ophe­lia in Lau­rence Olivier’s Ham­let ) and Alec Guin­ness in his first screen role as a de­light­ful Her­bert Pocket. John Mills is fine as the adult Pip ( though many con­sider the child­hood scenes the best things in the film). Beau­ti­fully shot in black- and- white and brim­ming with un­for­get­table mo­ments, it per­fectly cap­tures the spirit of Dick­ens.

The Red Shoes ( Sun­day, 1.15am, ABC) be­gan as an Emeric Press­burger script com­mis­sioned by Alexan­der Korda for his wife Merle Oberon, who was to have played the young bal­le­rina Vic­to­ria Page ( with her danc­ing per­formed by a dou­ble). The role went by good for­tune to Moira Shearer — it was the per­for­mance of her life — af­ter Press­burger and his col­lab­o­ra­tor, Michael Pow­ell, ac­quired the rights to the story.

I al­ways find it a bit man­nered and pre­ten­tious, but it bears all the Pow­ellPress­burger trade­marks: mar­vel­lous vis­ual ef­fects, a mood of un­worldly ro­man­ti­cism , in­tox­i­cat­ing back­stage de­tail and some breath­tak­ing bal­let se­quences. An­ton Wal­brook’s stern im­pre­sario Boris Ler­mon­tov, who brooks no com­pro­mise be­tween the de­mands of art and love, was mod­elled on Sergei Di­aghilev.

Head- On ( Wed­nes­day, 10pm, SBS), writ­ten and di­rected by Turk­ish- Ger­man film­maker Fatih Akin, is about sec­ond- gen­er­a­tion Turk­ish im­mi­grants in Ger­many, and if I’ve lost you al­ready, keep read­ing. It’s an elec­tri­fy­ing film, a fine love story and a pierc­ing ex­plo­ration of cul­tural dif­fer­ence.

Cahit ( Birol Unel), an an­gry wreck of a man griev­ing for his dead wife, wants to start life afresh with Si­bel ( Si­bel Kekilli), a Turk­ishGer­man girl ea­ger to free her­self from the re­stric­tive em­brace of a Mus­lim fam­ily. Akin di­vides the film into four mu­si­cal acts, sep­a­rated by straight- to- cam­era per­for­mances by a Ro­many mu­si­cian and his band, and

within this self- im­posed frame­work he has given us a film that is shock­ing and bril­liant, marked by daz­zling tech­nique. The mes­sage seems to be that life in the de­vel­oped world of the 21st cen­tury is aim­less, harsh, root­less and un­pre­dictable, and can be re­deemed only by love and un­der­stand­ing, or by switch­ing to the com­mer­cial chan­nels.

There are echoes of the Rambo thriller First Blood in The Hunted ( Satur­day, 10pm, Seven), in which Tommy Lee Jones plays a one­time US Spe­cial Forces in­struc­tor who dis­cov­ers that a for­mer re­cruit ( Beni­cio Del Toro) is on a mur­der­ous spree in the back­woods of Ore­gon. William Fried­kin’s stark ef­fec­tive thriller poses the ques­tion of who is the hunter and who is the hunted.

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