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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

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.


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