Free to air
SYDNEY Festival audiences voted Boy (Saturday, 9.30pm, SBS One) their favourite film in 2010, and it’s easy to see why. Boy is a charmer, thanks mainly to the presence of 11-year-old James Rolleston, who plays Boy. It appears Rolleston was originally hired as an extra and promoted to the leading role when he turned up on set and captivated everyone with his looks and ability. The year is 1984 and life is tough. Boy lives on a farm in a Maori community on a windy stretch of New Zealand coastline with his pet goat, his grandmother and his young brother Bobby, who rank in more or less that order in Boy’s affections. His mother is dead, he is mercilessly bullied at school and he likes to fantasise that his missing dad is a war hero who will return home one day in triumph from a distant battlefield.
The other kids at school know that Boy’s dad is in jail, and when he does turn up at the farm with a couple of surly mates it’s to recover the proceeds of a robbery. This is the second film of writer-director Taika Waititi. He gives us an elegy for lost childhood and a searching study of a father-son relationship, moving between moods of humour and sadness and worlds of makebelieve and illusion. Waititi never pushes things too hard, and the Maori cast seem to delight in the presence of the camera. Alfred Hitchcock ★★★★ Sunday, 12.05am, ABC1
(M) ★★★ ✩ Saturday, 9.30pm, SBS One
(M) ★★★ ✩ Thursday, 9.30pm, SBS Two made his first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1934, and liked it so much that he remade it in 1956 with James Stewart and Doris Day. The remake is one of Hitch’s most beguiling escapist entertainments. Certain locations were altered, but essentially it’s the same story: Day and Stewart are innocent American tourists whose vacation in French Morocco quickly becomes a nightmare when their young son is kidnapped. Forty-five minutes longer than the first film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (Sunday, 12.05am, ABC1) has all Hitch’s standard ingredients: chases, unexpected deaths, spooky settings, international intrigue, some marvellous minor characters and a double climax involving an assassination attempt at London’s Albert Hall and the rescue of the couple’s son.
For a taste of how the super-rich enjoy their vacations in the south of France, I recommend Pierre Salvadori’s Priceless (Thursday, 9.30pm, SBS Two), starring the ever-enchanting Audrey Tautou and set in a ritzy hotel in Biarritz. SBS has been known to call Priceless a French remake of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I’d have said it was a rather sweet but improbable romantic farce in which Tautou plays a beautiful gold-digger who mistakes a bartender for a wealthy hotel guest and seduces him. I liked it a lot in 2006, though no one gets to sing Moon River. Plenty of amusing twists and sharp insights into class, snobbery and social pretension.