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Fancy Dance to Black Barbie: the seven best films to watch on TV this week
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Fancy Dance to Black Barbie: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

Pick of the week

Fancy Dance

Erica Tremblay’s poignant debut drama adds to the valuable but still small body of films bringing the present-day Native American experience to wider attention. Killers of the Flower Moon breakout star Lily Gladstone bolsters her reputation as petty criminal Jax, who has been looking after her 13-year-old niece, Roki (Isabel Deroy-Olsen), since her sister Tawi vanished. As she searches for Tawi, Jax drags the trusting Roki away from their Seneca–Cayuga reservation into her own murky world of shoplifting and car theft, barely realising what a bad influence she is on the girl. Questions of identity and belonging – tribal and familial – swirl under an arresting road movie mystery.
Friday, Apple TV+

Black Barbie

Representation … Shonda Rhimes in Black Barbie.View image in fullscreen

Shondaland’s fascinating story of the creation and legacy of the first Black Barbie doll – which Mattel released 21 years after the white one – is also a parallel social history of 20th-century African American girlhood. Lagueria Davis’s deep-dive documentary ropes in an array of successful Black women – including Shonda Rhimes herself – and Black female pioneers in the toy industry to illuminate the slow progress towards representation. It also doesn’t shy away from the obstacles that still need to be overcome before the blond, blue-eyed Barbie is no longer the default.
Out now, Netflix

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Maila Nurmi and Tor Johnson in Plan 9 from Outer Space.View image in fullscreen

Probably the worst film you’ll watch this week, Ed Wood’s 1957 sci-fi horror is also a cult classic. Featuring Bela Lugosi’s final screen appearance before his death – though it’s actually repurposed footage from another unmade Wood picture – it’s a hilariously ambitious small-budget disaster. There are flying saucers, the undead and Lugosi (or his much taller double) inexplicably wandering around in his Dracula cape. The bad acting, wobbly sets, woeful continuity and cheap special effects only bolster its legend.
Saturday, 1pm, Talking Pictures TV

Sometimes I Think About Dying

Daisy Ridley in Sometimes I Think About Dying.View image in fullscreen

With her low-key role in Rachel Lambert’s sort-of romantic drama, Daisy Ridley found a part as far removed from Rey in Star Wars as it’s possible to get. She plays Fran, a drab, withdrawn office worker in an Oregon coastal town whose only sign of a richer emotional life is vivid daydreams about her own death. But when new colleague Robert (Dave Merheje) asks her out, she is forced to adjust her minimal expectations. A film whose seemingly inconsequential interactions add up to a heart-tugging character study.
Saturday, 2.35pm, 10pm, Sky Cinema Premiere

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I Am: Celine Dion

Celine Dion in I Am: Celine Dion.View image in fullscreen

Whatever your opinions on Celine Dion’s glass-shattering MoR music, it will be a hard heart that isn’t softened after watching this documentary by Irene Taylor. Part celebration of a career, part paean to resilience, it follows a year in the Canadian chanteuse’s life as she deals with stiff person syndrome. It’s a rare autoimmune neurological disorder that restricts her movement, gives her spasms (at one point you witness her having a seizure) and – most upsettingly – has ruined her epic voice.
Tuesday, Prime Video

Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge

Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge.View image in fullscreen

The Belgian designer famously invented the wrap dress – but that’s pretty much the least interesting thing about Diane von Furstenberg. As related by the woman herself in Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Trish Dalton’s page-turner of a documentary, she was also the daughter of an Auschwitz survivor, jet-setting wife of a German prince, Studio 54 regular and early exponent of QVC. Feted by the likes of Oprah, Marc Jacobs and Hillary Clinton, DVF comes across as a delightfully candid, self-aware feminist who made a lasting impression in a man’s world while retaining her independence.
Tuesday, Disney+


Paul Hilton and Romane Hemelaers in Earwig.View image in fullscreen

Lucile Hadžihalilović is celebrated for her disconcerting fables about childhood. This 2021 Möbius strip of a film promises something similar: Mia (Romane Hemelaers) is a girl with teeth made of ice who is confined by her guardian, Paul Hilton’s Albert, to a dingy house in an undefined European city. But then we meet Romola Garai’s waitress Céleste, who has a spooky connection to Albert that grows in significance as the plot develops. It’s reminiscent of Lynch at his most gnomic and teasing, and has all the logic of a dream, but is captivating nonetheless.
Tuesday, 1.15am, Film4

Source: theguardian.com