I Am Not A Witch
I Am Not A Witch

ARTS & CULTURE

What to watch this weekend

A bumper weekend of films, Hillary on Graham Norton and new BBC Bonfire Night drama, Gunpowder

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By Emily Baker on

It’s unlikely that a film about a young African girl being accused of witchcraft is funny, but I Am Not A Witch is brilliantly sharp. More than that, it’s satirical, taking the mick out of a very dark and all too real subject. Shula is an orphan, who, accused by her neighbours of making them trip over buckets and chopping off people’s arms, must be a witch. As a result, she’s sent away from the town and somehow finds herself in a camp inhabited by many other witches. But Shula doesn’t believe in witches and certainly doesn’t think she is one – until it’s beneficial. I Am Not A Witch is the directorial debut of Welsh-Zambian Rungano Nyoni, whose somewhat controversial but heartwarming style has her pegged as one to watch. The film has quite a limited release, but you can find your nearest showing here.

This week is one of those rare times when there’s more than one great film to watch in the cinema and second up is Dina. It’s a documentary about Scott and Dina, who both have autism, and their love story and the road to marriage. It’s a very sweet watch, with the couple baring all without it feeling exploitative or intrusive, and the film won the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s another one with a limited release, so if you can’t find it, make your way to a screening of The Death Of Stalin, another comedy that does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s an impressive ensemble cast, who play out the first few days following the death of Stalin in 1950s Russia.

Friday

If you like cuttingly obvious satire and travel, you’re in luck. Tonight Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man returns to Channel 4 (8.30pm) and he’s in Rome for just 48 hours. Along with his interchangeable celebrity companion – this week, it’s Matt Lucas – he visits the (outside of) the Vatican, goes on a tour in vintage Fiat 500s, throws a penny in the Trevi Fountain and marvels at the Colosseum. Travel Man isn’t only funny, it’s genuinely helpful, too, giving price points and tips for a quick jaunt to the city.

It’s easy to recommend watching Graham Norton every single week, but tonight truly is a special occasion. For Hillary Rodham Clinton is appearing on the couch, fresh from her talk at the Southbank Centre last week. She’s there, of course, to discuss her book, What Happened, and hopefully Graham can eke out some never before heard Washington goss, thanks to the wine supplied. Plus, there’s some guaranteed Trump-bashing to enjoy.

Saturday

Every year on the November 5, we all head out to eat hotpot and black-eyed peas (I’m northern, if you hadn’t guessed) and watch an effigy of Guy Fawkes burn on a bonfire, while fireworks burst above our heads. We think we all know why we do this but, just to refresh you, the BBC’s new drama, Gunpowder (BBC One, 9.10pm), retells the story in gruesome fashion. Believe me, this one isn’t for the faint-hearted – there’s two graphic executions in the first half of this opening episode – but it wouldn’t be history if it wasn’t horrible. Kit Harington takes the main role of Robert Catesby – not Guy Fawkes, who apparently had nothing more than a bit part – a man angered by the persecution of Catholics in England. The group of men who concocted the Gunpowder Plot were obviously terrorists, but Gunpowder offers a sympathetic thought as to what religious persecution can drive desperate people to do. Some good moustache action, too.

Sunday

Robot Wars is back on tonight (BBC Two, 8pm), if murderous homemade metal monsters are your jam.

Imagine a pop star (in the loosest sense of the word) surprising you at work, then following up with a serenade. Your worst nightmare? Stay away from ITV. However, if watching people blubber and snot on to Rita Ora’s Gucci-clad shoulder sounds right up your street, Emma Willis hosts Your Song at 9pm. “Stars” such as X Factor winner James Arthur and Irish band from the noughties The Script turn up at an anti-bullying charity, a gay wedding and youth clubs to perform intimate sets for fans. If you detect a slight sense of sarcasm here, it’s because I’m jealous Little Mix haven’t turned up to The Pool HQ yet.

@emilyrbakes

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