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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Ed­die Cock­rell

IS­RAELI di­rec­tor Eran Kolirin’s 2008 dra­matic com­edy The Band’s Visit (Tues­day, 11.50pm, SBS One) won numer­ous in­dus­try and au­di­ence awards at home and abroad, and for good rea­son: it is a qui­etly funny valen­tine to cul­tural ex­change that can’t quite hide its big heart be­neath the know­ing laughs. When a rule-bound colonel leads his eight-piece Egyp­tian band to the wrong Is­raeli town on a well-in­ten­tioned but du­bi­ous cul­tural ex­change, it is up to the sassy owner of the town’s sole cafe to build and for­tify the bridges of tol­er­ance. Note Kolirin’s dead­pan ap­proach to pac­ing and cam­era place­ment, which slyly un­der­scores his dry and benev­o­lent hu­mour.

There’s no Amer­i­can stu­dio film quite like di­rec­tor Joseph Losey’s 1949 paci­fist para­ble The Boy with the Green Hair (Satur­day, 3.30pm, ABC1), and there’s no time like the hol­i­days to re­flect on its mes­sage of tol­er­ance, clev­erly told in the tale of a young boy (Dean Stock­well) or­phaned in the Lon­don Blitz who wakes up one day with the epony­mous af­flic­tion. New stu­dio boss and leg­endary con­ser­va­tive Howard Hughes hated the film, and shortly af­ter its re­lease Losey and co-sce­nar­ist Ben Barz­man found them­selves on Hol­ly­wood’s no­to­ri­ous black­list and so re­lo­cated to Lon­don to pre­serve their ca­reers.

Imag­ine giv­ing 20 of the world’s most prom­i­nent film­mak­ers a cam­era and turn­ing each one loose, alone or in teams, on one of Paris’s dis­tinc­tive neigh­bour­hoods with the sin­gle in­struc­tion: make a short film about love. Paris, Je T’Aime (Mon­day, 10.20pm, SBS Two) is that mis­chievous, di­verse col­lec­tion of med­i­ta­tions on l’amour. Among th­ese snap­shots of a city, Joel and Ethan Coen take over the Tui­leries Metro sta­tion, Wes Craven ex­plores PereLachaise, Alexan­der Payne vis­its the 14th Ar­rondisse­ment, and so on. In ad­di­tion to the daz­zling di­rec­to­rial tal­ent on dis­play, stars of in­di­vid­ual seg­ments in­clude Mar­i­anne Faith­full, Steve Buscemi, Juliet Binoche, Nick Nolte, Gena Row­lands, Mi­randa Richard­son and many more. As if one needed an­other rea­son to love the city of light, the fun of re­vis­it­ing favourite films is the plea­sure of rep­e­ti­tion, and two New Year’s Eve of­fer­ings un­der­score that com­fort­ing tra­di­tion. Ad­ven­tur­ous cineastes of a cer­tain age re­call per­haps with pride, per­haps not, at­tend­ing mid­night screen­ings of the 1975 mu­si­cal com­edy hor­ror romp The Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show (Mon­day, 8.30pm, 11), not so much to see the film, but to par­tic­i­pate in the glee­fully an­ar­chic call-and-re­sponse an­tics of the rowdy au­di­ence. Viewed with the per­spec­tive of years, if not wis­dom, di­rec­tor Jim Shar­man’s en­er­getic bigscreen ver­sion of the hit stage show that pi­o­neered late-night screen­ings of edgy and campy fare is still a lot of fun. ★★★✩✩ Mon­day, 8.30pm, 11


M) ★★★★✩ Tues­day, 11.50pm, SBS One

Satur­day, 3.30pm, ABC1

(G) ★★★

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