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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

HUNT­ING and Gath­er­ing (Thurs­day, 11.15pm, SBS Two) is a lovely French film from Claude Berri, best re­mem­bered for those two master­pieces from the 1980s, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. This one is pure de­light, with its story of four very dif­fer­ent peo­ple brought to­gether in love and friend­ship to dis­cover new mean­ing in their lives. I know that makes it sound corny, but noth­ing I have seen in re­cent years has touched me more deeply.

Camille (Au­drey Tautou) — lonely, timid and rather sickly — works as a cleaner in an of­fice build­ing. She shares an apart­ment with Philib­ert (Lau­rent Stocker), a shy fel­low with a speech im­ped­i­ment, and his gloomy friend Franck (Guil­laume Canet), who is look­ing af­ter his ail­ing grand­mother (Fran­coise Bertin). It is won­der­ful to watch these stunted per­son­al­i­ties blos­som and strengthen as they get to know one an­other. The film is beau­ti­fully crafted with some splen­did per­for­mances. It is a mark of its rich­ness and hu­man­ity that char­ac­ters we be­gin by pity­ing or dis­lik­ing quickly grow to cap­ture our af­fec­tion.

Now that the first se­ries of Pu­berty Blues has run its course on Ten, this is a good time to catch up with Bruce Beres­ford’s film, re­leased in 1981. Based on the book by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, Pu­berty Blues (Satur­day, 8.30pm, ABC2) was orig­i­nally touted as a teen-flick sur­fie com­edy, but looks much darker in ret­ro­spect. Teenagers Sue (Jad Capelja) and Deb­bie (Nell Schofield), keen to be ac­cepted into Sydney’s most ex­clu­sive surf­ing clique, dis­cover that its rit­u­als can be sadly te­dious and de­mean­ing. In the con­text of its time, Beres­ford’s film, with its de­pic­tion of drug-tak­ing, booz­ing, promis­cu­ous sex and other male chau­vin­ist an­tics, was a fine ex­am­ple of so­cial re­al­ist drama. (The girls’ ages were raised from 14 to 16 for the film to avoid censorship has­sles.) When Deb­bie and Sue fi­nally prove their in­de­pen­dence by mount­ing a surf­board — some­thing only boys are sup­posed to do — it was one of the first as­ser­tions of fem­i­nist sen­ti­ment in an Aus­tralian film (af­ter My Bril­liant Ca­reer). It’s a brave film, though more in­trepid surf­ing types may pre­fer one of the Jaws se­quels — Jaws 2 (Sun­day, 6.30pm, 7Mate) or Jaws 3 (9pm, 7Mate), the lat­ter in 3-D. The sharks are as nasty as ever.

Heist (Satur­day, 10pm, Nine), star­ring Gene Hack­man, Danny DeVito and Del­roy Lindo, is about a gold bullion rob­bery in Bos­ton. It was writ­ten and di­rected by David Mamet, with a plot as slick, in­tri­cate and tricky as only Mamet can write. In fact, I found it all a bit too clever for its own good, with di­a­logue so snazzy that you won­der why the char­ac­ters aren’t earn­ing a for­tune as stand-up comics or Hol­ly­wood screen­writ­ers. Hack­man plays an age­ing crim in­vei­gled into car­ry­ing out One Last Job. One day there’ll be a One Last Heist Movie. But don’t hold your breath.

(M) ★★★★✩ Thurs­day, 11.15pm, SBS Two

(M) ★★★ ✩ Satur­day, 8.30pm, ABC2

(MA15+) ★★★✩✩ Satur­day, 10pm, Nine

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