The terrible destruction of archeological sites in the Middle East in recent years has been profoundly upsetting. But Petra, one of the most amazing ancient sites still extant in Jordan, continues to fascinate and confound. Famous for its sandstone carved facades, it was the oncethriving capital of the Nabateans from about 300BC and a crossroads for the overland spice and incense trade. But about AD100 the locals ceased to use the site for tombs as their ancestors had done. Did this mark some cataclysmic event or abandonment of the city? I could hazard a guess in regards to a certain neighbouring civilisation and its expeditionary emperor at that time. But here science has the answers. The third season of this bodice-ripping tale is screening at the same time as in Britain. Based on the novels by Winston Graham, it tells the story of Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner), who has returned to Cornwall and the family tin mines after fighting in the American War of Independence. It began with some shirt-free scenes for Turner that helped establish its five million-strong British audience (though many noted an unsavoury sex scene in season two in which his character was said to act ambiguously at best and nonconsensually at worst). This latest season is set against the backdrop of French revolution and introduces new characters described as the richest and most powerful people in Cornwall. The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe Sunday, 10.30pm, SBS This documentary traces the creation of the celebrated play The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe, which features the stories of four African Australian women: Yarrie, Aminata, Yordanos and The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe Rosemary — all former refugees and victims of sexual abuse and violence — who bravely took on the challenge of revealing their stories in a professional theatre production written and directed by the intrepid Ros Horin. It covers a five-year period and ends with the critical success of the play in Sydney and London, and discusses the ways that the women were empowered by the experience. This documentary has screened at the Sydney and Melbourne film festivals to great acclaim. Event Horizon (Tonight, 8.30pm, Viceland) is one of the most underrated sci-fi films around. Starring Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne, the 1997 film had a troubled production and was criticised for being too gory (one member of the test audience is said to have fainted). Time, however, has been kind and the film has developed a cult following. Another critically reviled film, and box-office bomb, was 2012’s John Carter (Monday, 8.30pm, 7Mate) starring Taylor Kitsch and based on A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs — it’s actually so bad, it’s good. Carter is transported from the American Civil War to the planet Mars hundreds of millions of years in the past, then known as Barsoom. In Mars’ low gravity, Carter is able to leap into the sky; why does every other Mars movie show people shuffling around like sloths? A guaranteed heart warmer, check out Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams (Tonight, 7.30pm, 7Flix), which was released 28 years ago. Also starring James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster and Amy Madigan, its evergreen popularity can be seen in countless trivia listicles online, not to mention how phrases such as “if you build it they will come” have entered the vernacular.
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