FOODIE LOVE Stream on HBO platforms. In this Spanish-language series by the prolific director and screenwriter Isabel Coixet, a man and a woman, played by Guillermo Pfening and Laia Costa, meet through a dating app and bond over their shared loved of food and distaste for the culture that has sprung up around it. Across eight episodes, all of which are now available, their relationship develops against the backdrop of coffee and cocktails, ramen and sake, ice cream and croissants. But as they move further from the virtual into the realm of embodied love, by way of fine dining and frequent snacking, the stakes become higher, their intimacy becomes more intense and their deepening connection is threatened.
NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (2011) Stream on the Criterion Channel; rent on Amazon and iTunes. This Patricio Guzmán film is more than a documentary: In his review for The New York Times, Stephen Holden called it a “cinematic essay.” The difference lies in Guzmán’s nimble weaving of the personal, political and cosmic. His setting is the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, which is currently home to astronomers who use its extreme atmospheric conditions to study outer space. During the 1970s, when Gen. Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile, it contained a concentration camp for political prisoners. Decades later, the relatives of those who never returned from the camp continued to scour the desert for the remains of their lost loved while the nearby scientists train their gaze upward. Both activities, Guzmán suggests, represent attempts to preserve memory.
MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE (2017) Stream on Hulu and Netflix; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. The Church of Scientology is a notoriously difficult subject to capture. Its power and penchant for secrecy and aggression can stymie even the most dogged chronicler. Louis Theroux, a journalist and filmmaker, and his director, John Dower, turned their lack of access to the group’s leadership and active members to their advantage for this documentary. In place of interviews, the creators used actors to recreate the church’s practices as they’ve been described by defectors and whistle-blowers like Marty Rathbun. In her review for The Times, Jeannette Catsoulis described the film an “offbeat attempt to illuminate the church’s psychological grip on its members” that “relies on a shaggy, meandering charm.”
What’s on TV
CMA BEST OF FEST 8 p.m. on ABC. Like so much else, the Country Music Association’s annual music festival in Nashville was canceled because of the coronavirus. Luckily the organizers had a wealth of recordings from previous years to stitch together for this three-hour special. More than 25 performances from the last 16 years will be included. Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and other contemporary stars are well represented in the lineup, but veterans and newer voices will also be featured. Luke Bryan, whose forthcoming album was pushed back to August, will host and perform with Darius Rucker.