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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - EVAN WIL­LIAMS

NINE is ob­serv­ing Holy Week with The Mir­a­cle of Our Lady of Fa­tima ( Fri­day, noon), of which I’ll say no more, while Seven is of­fer­ing Mel Gib­son’s The Pas­sion of the Christ ( Fri­day, 10.30pm). The Gib­son film is har­row­ing and deeply per­sonal, though in ret­ro­spect it strikes me as odd that Mel’s name should take prece­dence over the other name in the ti­tle. Ten is show­ing Broad­cast News ( Sun­day, 11.20pm), which had much to say about the ethics of elec­tronic jour­nal­ism. James L. Brooks di­rected from his own script, and if I look at it again it’s bound to seem hi­lar­i­ously dated in mat­ters of de­tail ( as usu­ally hap­pens with films that are des­per­ately up- to- the- minute on their re­lease). But there’s a great cast and many good lines. Holly Hunter is the net­work news pro­ducer whose pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship with a vet­eran correspondent ( Brooks) is dis­turbed by the pres­ence of William Hurt’s af­fa­ble, but some­what dim, news­caster. Watch for Jack Ni­chol­son’s scene- steal­ingly self- im­por­tant an­chor­man. I thought it the best and wit­ti­est film of 1987 and was dis­ap­pointed when it was pipped for the big prize on Os­car night by the flat­u­lent Ber­tolucci epic The Last Em­peror. At this year’s Os­cars many wanted Julie Christie to win some­thing for her por­trayal of an Alzheimer’s suf­ferer in Away from Her . But there’s an equally mov­ing de­pic­tion of the dis­ease in Iris ( Tues­day, noon, Seven), in which Judi Dench plays nov­el­ist Iris Mur­doch. Richard Eyre’s film is about her slow, care­free dy­ing, en­dured with blithe in­dif­fer­ence and a sweet puz­zle­ment at odds with the pain felt by oth­ers. Dench is un­bear­ably good with her re­peated words and lit­tle flut­ters of con­fu­sion, and Kate Winslet plays the young, con­fi­dent Mur­doch in flash­back. It’s a very sad film and a very beau­ti­ful one. Doc­tor Zhivago ( Satur­day, noon, Nine), David Lean’s mag­is­te­rial, glo­ri­ously spec­tac­u­lar adap­ta­tion of Boris Paster­nak’s novel about the Bol­she­vik revo­lu­tion, was his fol­low- up to Lawrence of Ara­bia: mar­vel­lous to look at, with some great set pieces, in­clud­ing Zhivago’s trek across the snowy Rus­sian steppes ( shot in Fin­land), but let down by Omar Sharif’s glum pres­ence and the grat­ingly repet­i­tive theme song com­posed by Mau­rice Jarre. In The Long­est Yard ( Satur­day, 9.30pm, Nine), Adam San­dler is a

for­mer celebrity foot­ball pro who runs foul of the law and ends up in a windswept Texas jail coach­ing a pris­on­ers’ foot­ball team to play the guards. It is silly, crude and vi­o­lent, a re­make of a re­make, and I’m ashamed to ad­mit how much I en­joyed it. ( The 1974 Burt Reynolds film, which this one fol­lows closely, was a run­away hit.) Women on the Verge of a Ner­vous Break­down ( Fri­day, 10.05pm, SBS) is 1988 vin­tage Pe­dro Almod­ovar, an ex­trav­a­gantly stylish, dream­like farce ex­plor­ing the idea of ob­ses­sive love, with one of the di­rec­tor’s favourite per­form­ers, Car­men Maura, as the aban­doned Pepa, search­ing for the elu­sive lover who has left her preg­nant.

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