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Highlights this week include the film The Girl With A Bracelet, a five part Radio 4 series, Red Memory by Tania Branigan, on China’s Cultural Revolution, and Deadly Standoff. Selections are by Pat Harrington and music is by Tim Bragg.

Saturday 8 April 2023

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969 film)

“Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” is a classic western film released in 1969, directed by George Roy Hill and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the titular characters. The movie follows the two outlaws as they try to evade the law after a series of bank robberies.

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when Butch (Newman), Sundance (Redford), and Etta Place (played by Katherine Ross) ride a bicycle together, set to the tune of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” by B.J. Thomas. The scene is iconic, and the song perfectly captures the carefree spirit of the trio.

Newman and Redford’s on-screen chemistry is also a highlight of the film. Their banter and camaraderie add a touch of humor and heart to the movie. Their performances, along with the impressive cinematography and action sequences, make “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” a classic that still holds up today.

Burt Bacharach: A Tribute From Ronnie Scott’s 8pm BBC2

This begins an evening of programmes featuring Burt Bacharach. Burt Bacharach was an American composer, songwriter, and pianist who made significant contributions to the world of music.

Bacharach’s music is known for its unique style, characterized by complex arrangements, unconventional chord progressions, and his use of unusual instruments. His collaborations with lyricist Hal David produced many hits, including “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” and “Walk on By.” Bacharach has won numerous awards throughout his career, including six Grammy Awards and three Academy Awards for Best Original Song. His music continues to influence and inspire artists across genres, making him one of the most respected and influential figures in music.

The series of programmes tonight are A feast for fans.

Oliver!(1968 film) 3.30pm C4

“Oliver!” is a musical film adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist”, released in 1968 and directed by Carol Reed. The movie tells the story of a young orphan boy named Oliver, who navigates the harsh realities of Victorian-era London and falls in with a group of young pickpockets.

While the film is a classic musical with memorable songs and lively dance numbers, it also carries a strong social message about poverty and social injustice. The movie portrays the stark contrast between the lavish lifestyles of the wealthy and the harsh living conditions of the poor, particularly the orphaned children forced to survive on the streets.

Through Oliver’s journey, the movie highlights the need for compassion and empathy towards those less fortunate and the importance of fighting against the societal systems that perpetuate poverty and inequality. The film’s powerful social message, along with its impressive musical numbers and talented cast, makes “Oliver!” a timeless classic that still resonates today.

The Girl With A Bracelet (2019 film) 2am BBC2

“The Girl With A Bracelet” is a 2019 French drama film directed by Stéphane Demoustier. The movie follows Lise, a teenage girl who is put on trial for the murder of her best friend. As the trial progresses, it is revealed that Lise’s sexual morals are also being questioned, making her case even more complicated.

The film’s portrayal of Lise’s trial highlights the societal double standards that exist regarding sexual behavior, particularly for young women. Lise is being judged not only for the murder she is accused of committing but also for her sexual activity and behavior. This raises questions about the fairness of the justice system and how it treats young women.

“The Girl With A Bracelet” is a remake of the Argentinian film “The Accused” (1988), which also deals with the sexualization and victim-blaming of women in the justice system. Both films shed light on the deeply ingrained societal biases that unfairly impact women who find themselves on trial.

“The Girl With A Bracelet” is a thought-provoking and powerful film that explores important social issues and raises questions about how justice is served for young women in our society.

Sunday 9 April 2023

Eternal Beauty (2019 film) 10pm BBC2

“Eternal Beauty” is a 2019 British drama film written and directed by Craig Roberts. The movie follows Jane, a woman with mental illness, as she navigates her life and relationships. The film explores themes of love, loss, and the fragility of mental health.

Sally Hawkins delivers a standout performance as Jane, portraying her character’s struggles with a delicate balance of sensitivity and strength. The supporting cast, including David Thewlis and Billie Piper, also deliver strong performances, bringing depth and nuance to their characters.

The film’s exploration of mental illness is handled with care and sensitivity, avoiding the typical tropes and cliches often associated with the topic. Instead, the film focuses on the complexity of mental illness and how it can impact every aspect of a person’s life.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017 film)

“Blade Runner 2049” is a 2017 science-fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and serves as a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 film “Blade Runner.” The movie stars Ryan Gosling as “K,” a new blade runner who uncovers a long-buried secret that could lead to the end of humanity.

The film’s stunning visuals and cinematography immediately transport viewers into a dystopian future filled with neon lights and futuristic technology. Ryan Gosling delivers an excellent performance, portraying a stoic yet complex character who is both vulnerable and strong.

The film’s exploration of complex themes such as the nature of humanity, the ethics of artificial intelligence, and the role of memory, make it a thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating experience. The movie also brings back Harrison Ford’s character, Deckard, adding an emotional layer to the already engaging storyline.

Monday 10 April 2023

Red Memory by Tania Branigan (part 1 of 5):’How could they do it?’ 9:45am BBC RADIO 4 FM

Tania Branigan’s riveting account delves into the rarely explored stories of those who lived through China’s Cultural Revolution – a haunting era of Mao’s reign marked by violence, hysteria, and relentless persecution. During this tumultuous period, teenagers were pitted against adults, including their own parents, while party officials, artists, teachers, and intellectuals were subjected to public humiliation, beatings, and even murder through brutal ‘struggle sessions’.

Despite the bloodshed and trauma inflicted, China’s most violent decade remains shrouded in silence. However, after four decades of repression, Branigan finally sheds light on the victims’ and perpetrators’ harrowing experiences. In one such account, a former Red Guard grapples with the atrocities committed by fellow teenagers during the notorious ‘Red Terror’ of 1966, struggling to make sense of the senseless violence that tore apart a nation.

Napoleon (part one of three) 7.15pm PBS America

From lowly Corsican Army officer to first consul of France, this episode charts the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte to leader of France in the late 1790s.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2014 film) 11pm ITV4

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a 2014 biographical black comedy directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who rises to riches through fraudulent means. The movie offers a scathing critique of capitalist greed and the excesses of Wall Street.

The film’s depiction of the stock market as a breeding ground for greed and excess is both captivating and disturbing. DiCaprio’s portrayal of Belfort, a man who will do anything to get ahead, is both mesmerizing and repulsive. The film does not shy away from showing the dark side of capitalism, and the consequences of unchecked ambition and greed.

The movie’s use of humor and satire adds a layer of complexity to the story, highlighting the absurdity of the characters’ actions and their justification of their unethical behavior. The film ultimately delivers a powerful message about the dangers of greed and the need for ethical standards in the world of finance.

Overall, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a well-crafted and thought-provoking film that offers a scathing critique of capitalist greed. Martin Scorsese’s direction, combined with strong performances from the cast, make this film a must-see for anyone interested in exploring the darker side of human nature and the perils of unchecked ambition.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Red Memory by Tania Branigan (part 2 of 5) ‘They really were afraid of Stravinsky.’ 9:45am BBC RADIO 4 FM

Composer Wang Xilin recounts his dramatic fall from grace after Mao’s crackdown on Western music, in Tania Branigan’s haunting exploration of China’s bloody Cultural Revolution.

Napoleon (part two of three) 7.10pm PBS America

This episode charts the transformation of Napoleon to emperor and global statesman.

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Red Memory by Tania Branigan (part 3 of 5): ‘Violence is truth’. 9:45am BBC RADIO 4 FM

A widower continues to fight for an apology for the shocking murder of his wife by her students, in Tania Branigan’s haunting exploration of China’s bloody Cultural Revolution…

Napoleon (part three of three) 7.15pm PBS America

Historian Andrew Roberts chart the fall of Napoleon. Grave military misjudgements lead to defeat at Waterloo and exile to the island of St Helena.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Red Memory by Tania Branigan (part 4 of 5): ‘We were all idealistic.’ 9:45am BBC RADIO 4 FM

A group of former ‘Educated Youth’ workers mourn the lost years of their youths, in Tania Branigan’s haunting account of China’s notorious Cultural Revolution.

The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019 film) 9pm Film4

“The Burnt Orange Heresy” is a 2019 thriller film directed by Giuseppe Capotondi. The movie follows an art critic named James Figueras, played by Claes Bang, who is given the opportunity to interview a reclusive artist named Jerome Debney, played by Mick Jagger. The interview leads to a series of events that turn dangerous and unpredictable.

The film boasts a talented cast with standout performances from Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Berenice Hollis, an enigmatic woman who accompanies Figueras on his journey. Mick Jagger’s performance as the eccentric artist is also noteworthy, adding a unique energy to the film.

The movie’s plot is engaging and keeps the audience on their toes throughout. The film’s exploration of the art world and the lengths people will go to attain fame and fortune adds an intriguing layer to the story. The film’s visuals and soundtrack are also impressive, creating a tense and atmospheric viewing experience.

Friday 14 April 2023

Red Memory by Tania Branigan (part 5 of 5): Echoes of the Cultural Revolution 9:45am BBC RADIO 4 FM

Mao impersonators, kitsch Cultural Revolution restaurants and student ‘struggle sessions’, as China struggles to make sense of its past, and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution.

Deadly Standoff Sky History 10pm

The Philadelphia police bombing of a residential building in 1985 is a tragic and controversial incident. Six adults and five children died when police bombed a building aimed at the black liberation movement MOVE.


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