American television has the tendency to milk stories for all their worth, stretching thin plotlines over 13-episode seasons that can often turn into excruciating waiting games. That's why it's such a relief when British TV shows quietly show them how it's done, as they have with the new Netflix series Collateral. A co-production with BBC, the Carey Mulligan-lead drama takes place over a digestible four episodes, an example of brilliantly concise storytelling. Collateral follows the fallout of a mysterious random shooting, using that event to analyse racial tensions in a post-Brexit UK. Mulligan is a force of nature, and the level-headed pace of the show makes for an empathetic, deeply rewarding drama.
Sebastian Lelio is a name you'll be hearing a lot over the next few years. The Chilean director's next film, Disobedience, a lesbian love story starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, is due later this year, and he's already wrapping up a remake of his own film Gloria, starring Julianne Moore. His most recent success, however, is A Fantastic Woman, which just won best foreign language film at the Oscars and is in NZ cinemas now. Starring the phenomenal Daniela Vega as a transgender singer and waitress who is rejected by her partner's family after his death, the film is a heart-breaking and beautiful look at the micro – and macro – aggressions faced by the trans community every day. It also features one of the best dance/dream sequences I've ever seen.
Tonight sees the dream melancholic pairing of Aldous Harding and Perfume Genius take the stage at the Auckland Arts Festival Playground at Silo Park. The two musicians, who have collaborated before, will each bring something incredible to the stage; Harding her stunning rawness and Perfume Genius (aka Mike Hadreas) his dazzling opulence. If you can't make it, I recommend listening to some Weyes Blood to distract yourself. A kindred spirit of both artists – and a collaborator with Hadreas – Weyes Blood creates stunning chamber-pop soundscapes, matched with her transcendent, otherworldly voice. Her latest album Front Row Seat to Earth is a masterpiece.
Off Camera with Sam Jones is the perfect podcast for lovers of TV and film who want to know what makes actors and creators tick. Over long-form interviews, Jones speaks to a broad range of Hollywood's most colourful characters with insightful depth, asking questions that get to the heart of the humanity behind certain bodies of work. It's an intensely personal and often beautiful listen – I recommend Greta Gerwig, Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain's episodes.