The Handmaiden to Crazy Rich Asians: the seven best films to watch on TV this week | Television & radio

ByLavinia E. Smith

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Pick of the week

The Handmaiden

Kim Tae-ri and Kim Min-hee in the Handmaiden.
Kim Tae-ri and Kim Min-hee in the Handmaiden. Photograph: Magnolia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection/Amazon Studios/Allstar

Sarah Waters’s acclaimed crime novel Fingersmith is the source for this elegant, erotic psychological thriller from Oldboy director Park Chan-wook. Set in a Korea under Japanese occupation in the early 20th century, the tangled tale follows a plot by conman Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) to marry heiress Hideko (Kim Min-hee) and then get her committed to an asylum, pocketing her money. He installs sidekick Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri) as her maid to assist him, but the young woman and her victim fall in love. Sook-Hee narrates her part in the scheme, but that’s only the half of it, as Hideko then tells her own, very different story – one of child abuse, sadism and pornographic literature.
Tuesday 24 May, 1.05am, Film4

Crazy Rich Asians

Constance Wu and Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asians.
Constance Wu and Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asians. Photograph: Sanja Bucko/Warner Bros/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

Jon M Chu’s unashamedly opulent romantic comedy-drama ticks all the boxes for mainstream success, but it is most notable for its all-Asian cast, still a rarity in Hollywood. Constance Wu plays Chinese-American New Yorker Rachel, who discovers that her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) is part of a stupendously wealthy Singapore-Chinese family. Flying over for a wedding, she quickly realises that cultural differences – embodied in Nick’s forbidding mother (a wonderfully steely Michelle Yeoh) – threaten her future happiness with him.
Saturday 21 May, 10.20pm, BBC One

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in the
Killing of a Sacred Deer.
Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in the Killing of a Sacred Deer. Photograph: A24/Allstar

Barry Keoghan brings a dead-eyed menace to this typically surreal 2017 drama from Yorgos Lanthimos. It’s the story of a rich surgeon named Steven (Colin Farrell) and an intense teenage boy, Martin (Keoghan), whose father died during one of his operations. Martin seeks justice, demanding that Steven kill his wife (Nicole Kidman) or one of his two children. If he doesn’t they will, somehow, all get sick and die. It’s a deadpan horror, coolly acted, with a bizarre but implacable logic derived from its source text, Euripides’s Greek tragedy Iphigenia in Aulis.
Saturday 21 May, 1.10am, Film4


Marcello Fonte in Dogman.
Marcello Fonte in Dogman.

Marcello (Marcello Fonte) is a meek dog groomer making a small living in a dilapidated town on the outskirts of Rome, spending quality time with his daughter Alida (Alida Baldari Calabria) and dealing some cocaine on the side. However, he has fallen into a toxic friendship with thuggish criminal Simoncino (Edoardo Pesce), who involves the pliant man in his increasingly dangerous enterprises. Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone’s film is another nuanced, neo-realist slice of life on the margins, where small mistakes can have a cumulatively devastating effect.
Sunday, 22 May, 1.40am, Channel 4

I Am Not a Witch

I Am Not a Witch.
I Am Not a Witch. Photograph: Alamy

This Bafta-winning drama from Zambian-Welsh writer-director Rungano Nyoni is a satirical condemnation of the practice of “witch camps” in some African countries, where women (usually old) who are accused of sorcery are detained. Here, a young girl, Shula (Maggie Mulubwa) is exploited by the tourism minister Mr Banda (Henry BJ Phiri) for her supposed abilities, while the other captives work the fields, forever tied to giant spools of ribbon. A heart-tugging mixture of comedy and tragedy.
Sunday 22 May, 1.50am, Film4


Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant in Suspicion.
Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant in Suspicion. Photograph: RKO/Allstar

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 thriller was the first of four fruitful collaborations with Cary Grant, though it’s the only one where his leading man plays a bit of a wrong ’un. Grant’s Johnnie is an eligible bachelor, though a bit “wild” – but for general’s daughter Lina (Joan Fontaine) he represents the excitement she can’t find in her comfortable, rural life. However, after they elope, she realises he is an inveterate gambler and liar, heavily in debt and, she suspects, capable of murder for financial gain. Fontaine won an Oscar for her role, seesawing convincingly between bliss and fear.
Thursday 26 May, 9pm, BBC Four


Donald Elise Watkins and RJ Cyler.
Donald Elise Watkins and RJ Cyler in Emergency. Photograph: Quantrell Colbert/Amazon Content Services

Two African-American college friends – bookish Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and laidback Sean (an impressive RJ Cyler) – have an epic spring break party night planned, until they stumble on an unconscious white girl on their lounge floor. The film then flips between slapstick campus comedy and deadly serious racial drama as the duo (plus their nerdy Latino roommate) try to help her, while avoiding a run-in with potentially trigger-happy white cops. Carey Williams’s debut feature makes its points succinctly and powerfully, but always with a sense of fun.
Friday 27 May, Amazon Prime Video