week’s best films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - Evan Wil­liams Black Hawk Down (MA15+) Satur­day, 9.30pm, Seven (Not Vic, Tas or SA) Win­ter’s Bone (M) Satur­day, 9.30pm, SBS One I Know Where I’m Go­ing! (PG) Mon­day, 2.55am, ABC1

NOTH­ING about Win­ter’s Bone (Satur­day, 9.30pm, SBS One) is cal­cu­lated to ap­peal to the aver­age movie au­di­ence. If there’s such a thing as a feel-bad movie, this could be it.

But De­bra Granik’s aus­tere, beau­ti­fully crafted drama, set in some hill­billy back­wa­ter of Mis­souri, is wel­come proof that the in­tel­li­gent, low-budget Amer­i­can in­de­pen­dent fea­ture still flour­ishes in the age of the dig­i­tal block­buster.

Jennifer Lawrence is mar­vel­lous as 17-year-old Ree, car­ing for her two small sib­lings in a run­down farm­house. Ev­ery­thing in this ex­tra­or­di­nary film is sub­dued, un­der­stated and con­trolled. The hor­rors are lightly stressed. Granik builds a mood of com­pelling ten­sion and un­ease, cre­at­ing a land­scape so for­lorn that we hardly re­mem­ber af­ter­wards the film has a happy end­ing.

Not so Black Hawk Down (Satur­day, 9.30pm, Seven)(Not Vic, Tas or SA), Ri­d­ley Scott’s gru­elling film about a bun­gled US mis­sion in So­ma­lia, in 1993, when an elite team of Delta Force op­er­a­tives was parachuted into the streets of Mo­gadishu in pur­suit of a ruth­less war­lord.

Two Black Hawk he­li­copters were downed by rocket-pro­pelled grenades dur­ing the raid, leav­ing more than 100 US troops trapped in a deadly fire­fight. With a cast in­clud­ing Ewan McGre­gor, Eric Bana and Sam Shep­ard, this is one of the most vivid and dis­turb­ing com­bat movies of re­cent times.

The typ­i­cal French film to­day is likely to be a re­fined con­ver­sa­tion piece with two or three char­ac­ters sort­ing out their re­la­tion­ships in a civilised way, and avoid­ing any­thing re­sem­bling ac­tion, spec­ta­cle, spe­cial ef­fects or other cor­rupt­ing Hol­ly­wood in­flu­ences.

Christophe Bar­ratier’s Paris 36 (Wed­nes­day, 12.40am, SBS One) is some­thing dif­fer­ent — the story of three un­em­ployed men who get to­gether to save a fail­ing mu­sic hall in a blue-col­lar district of Paris in the 1930s.

It has colour, move­ment, ro­mance, crowd scenes, a vaguely left-wing flavour and a string of orig­i­nal songs. All is unashamedly nos­tal­gic and sen­ti­men­tal, and the songs aren’t all that good. But when was the last time you saw a French mu­si­cal? Catch this one if you can.

I Know Where I’m Go­ing! (Mon­day, 2.55am, ABC1) is my favourite Pow­ell and Press­burger film, and as reg­u­lar read­ers will know, that’s say­ing some­thing.

Wendy Hiller is ut­terly charm­ing as a feisty young Bri­tish woman stranded on the storm­tossed Scot­tish coast with hand­some naval of­fi­cer Roger Livesey. Twenty-four years later Pow­ell di­rected Age

of Con­sent (Sun­day, 11.55pm, ABC1), based on the life of the artist Nor­man Lind­say and shot in Queens­land. The feisty young star then was He­len Mir­ren. It was Pow­ell’s last fea­ture as di­rec­tor.

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