The Florida Project, Film 4, 11.55pm

Single mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) sells designer fragrances to wealthy theme park visitors, aided by her precocious six-year-old daughter Moonee (Brooklynn Prince). It’s a struggle to raise the rent for a single room at the Magic Castle Motel and placate long-suffering manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe). During the day, little Moonee goes on adventures with other children. Their escapades drive Bobby to distraction, and an increasingly volatile Halley resorts to desperate measures to evade social services. The Florida Project is an exuberant portrait of families living hand-to-mouth in the shadow of Disney World. It’s an emotionally raw and unflinching character study, but the film softens the impact with earthy humour and humanity. Caleb Landry Jones also stars and it’s directed by Sean Baker, who made the excellent Tangerine (on an iPhone!).


Manhunter, ITV4, 10.45pm

It's a case of Silence Of The Lambs meets Miami Vice in this forerunner to the Hannibal Lecktor/Lecter saga from director Michael Mann. Moody former FBI agent Will Graham (William Petersen) is coaxed back into active service to track down a serial killer behind the slaughter of entire families. In a bid to get into the mind of the murderer, he consults with imprisoned psychopath Dr Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox), and ends up being taken to some pretty dark places before he can crack the crime. This slick classic will always be remembered as the film that started the whole Hannibal saga rolling. The two leads are excellent, and Kim Griest is left playing third fiddle as Petersen's wife. The directing, too, is top-notch, but it's the story ¬– taken from Thomas Harris’s novel Red Dragon – that makes this so compelling.


Dark Encounter, Film4, 11.15pm

Laura Fraser and Vincent Regan recently appeared in the crime drama Traces. They also star in this effective sci-fi thriller which is set in small-town America but, incredibly, was filmed in North Yorkshire. It begins with the disappearance of an eight-year-old girl from her Pennsylvania hometown. A year later, following her memorial service, bizarre happenings begin to occur in the woods nearby. Are the two events linked? And if so, how? Writer-director Carl Strathie delivers an oddly compelling tale which features strong supporting performances from Alice Lowe, Mel Raido, Sid Phoenix and Grant Masters.


Film of the Week

Paris, Texas, Thursday, Film 4, 11.15pm

Shot in four weeks using a script which was incomplete at the start of filming, Wim Wenders’s 1984 masterpiece went on to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes and from its soundtrack to its cinematography to its performances it remains one of the most iconic films of the decade as well as one of the best road movies ever. Wenders, who is German, said he wanted to make a film about America, and whether he succeeded or not he certainly brings an outsider’s eye to the country. He and regular cinematographer Robby Müller turn it into a place of neon-drenched motels, unforgiving desert roads and spectacular sunsets, always finding the oddest and most interesting locations for the action – a Californian diner located beside a massive model dinosaur, for instance, or a backstreet building in the Texan town of Port Arthur decorated with a huge mural of the Statue of Liberty. Müller would go on to shoot Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law and that film’s star, the hipster’s hipster John Lurie, can be seen in a cameo role here. The famous soundtrack, meanwhile, is by Ry Cooder, while the script was co-written by celebrated actor and playwright Sam Shepard.

Harry Dean Stanton plays Travis Henderson, who we first meet marching doggedly across the desert and then collapsing in a bar. Among his few possessions is a phone number for a Walter Henderson (Dean Stockwell), the brother he hasn’t seen for four years and who thinks him dead. Walter and his French wife Anne (Aurore Clément) have adopted Travis’s seven-year-old son Hunter (Hunter Carson, son of Shepard’s co-writer LM Kit Carson) after he was mysteriously dropped off at the door of their Los Angeles home around the time Travis disappeared. Travis won’t say where he has been and seems to have little memory of what has happened to him, but he and Hunter gradually re-connect. When Anne reveals that Hunter’s mother Jane wires money for him monthly from a bank in Houston, Travis and Hunter set off to find her – enter Nastassja Kinski, in a blonde wig and that iconic pink Mohair sweater-dress.


Testament Of Youth, BBC Two, 11.20pm

Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander) is poised to head to Oxford University in the shadow of the First World War. Her brother Edward (Taron Egerton) and his pals Roland (Kit Harington) and Victor (Colin Morgan) enlist, despite resistance from Vera's parents (Dominic West, Emily Watson). Romance blossoms between Vera and Roland, and Aunt Belle (Joanna Scanlan) acts as a chaperone for the young couple on their dates. Against the advice of her mother and father, Vera postpones her education to volunteer as a nurse and treat the soldiers, who have been physically and emotionally scarred by their experiences. Vikander is a revelation, capturing the spirit, defiance and brittleness of a young woman who holds firm to her convictions at a time when women were preferably seen but not heard.

And one to stream …

Things Heard And Seen, Netflix

Families swapping the city for the country and finding trouble as a result is a much-favoured plot device in horror films. You find it in everything from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining to Natalie James’s 2020 indie hit Relic. Here the city hipsters heading for the sticks – in this case an ivy-clad town in upstate New York – are Catherine Claire and her husband George ((Amanda Seyfried and James Norton, pictured below). The year is 1980.


Catherine’s a painter and art restorer with a good job in New York, but she agrees to throw it all up when George, who has just finished a PhD in art history, secures a teaching job at a private university. So, along with their four-year-old daughter Franny, they head for the small town of Chosen and a new life in a grand, if somewhat ramshackle 19th century house whose previous inhabitants have left behind a piano – and some kind of ghost.

True to trope, the spirit first shows itself to Franny as a lank-haired woman and then to Catherine as a series of reflections cascading around her kitchen. Lights flicker, rocking chairs rock and of course the piano plays itself. Sometimes the smell of car fumes invades the master bedroom.

Meanwhile, George’s new boss Floyd (F Murray Abraham) introduces himself as a believer in spiritualism, and he and Catherine find an instant connection and secretly arrange a séance to try to find out more about the spirit presence. But as Catherine investigates further and uncovers more information about the previous inhabitants of the house, the secrets and stresses in her own marriage are laid bare. She’s bulimic and is hiding the fact from George, he’s a serial adulterer whose early morning jogs end in a tumble with free-spirited university drop-out Willis (Natalia Dyer from Stranger Things). Her friend Eddy Vayle (Alex Neustaedter) is Catherine’s gardener and general handyman, but he too has a secret concerning the house. As tensions rise and George’s dishonesty and faithlessness threaten to ruin him, things take a turn for the perilous.

Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, whose infrequent output includes 2003’s American Splendor, it’s adapted from Elizabeth Brundage’s novel All Things Cease To Appear. One for a rainy Sunday afternoon.