Five wealthy, beautiful white Aussies are on a yachting holiday in the Timor Sea when they chance upon a sinking boat full of people desperate to start new lives (above). “Safe Harbour”, a television drama from Australia, places the holiday-makers in a dilemma: tow the boat to safety and risk having both vessels sink, or summon the authorities, who might deport the asylum-seekers? They vote in favour of the first option. But in the night someone cuts the rope connecting the two boats. Questions abound. Who was responsible? Why did they do it? And what happens when, years later, the captain of the yacht gets into a taxi-cab driven by an asylum-seeker who survived?
A sharp fringe
TV3, Catalonia’s public broadcaster, has long been accused of feeding secessionism in the region, which voted for independence from Spain in an illegal referendum last year. It recently poured further fuel on the fire with a programme called “Arriba España” – the equivalent of sieg heil in Franco’s Spain. The documentary cuts between footage of pro-Spanish unity rallies and interviews with leaders of various fringe right-wing groups. It argues that the far right is alive and thriving in Spain, and has found its home in the opposition to Catalan independence. Some separatists go further, suggesting that the Spanish state itself has barely been reformed since its years as a dictatorship. An official complaint has been made against the documentary, but its work is done: over half a million people watched it live.
“Novine” (“The Paper”), a popular television show in Croatia, can now be seen on Netflix, making it one of the first eastern European dramas to be picked up by the streaming service. Set in the seaside port of Rijeka, it’s about a construction magnate who takes over a newspaper on the verge of bankruptcy and strives to shape its editorial line for his own material gain. Written by former journalist Ivica Djikic, the show shines a light on a world where politics, media and business are deeply intertwined. The portrayal of the press hits close to home. Journalists face a number of problems, including political pressure and lack of funding. HRT, the public broadcaster, which aired the first season of “Novine” in 2016, has been beset by government meddling. Sounds like an uneasy example of life imitating art.
Kiss kiss Bang-alore
Films in India portray women as daughters, wives and mothers but rarely as individuals with their own sexual desires. “Lust Stories”, the first original film made by Netflix India, changes that. An anthology of four shorts about four different women, “Lust Stories” follows its heroines as they embark on a fling with a student, an entanglement with an employer, an extra-marital affair and married life. Lust binds these tales, but with it comes confusion, anxiety, guilt and shame. In one story, a bride struggles with her husband who is kind but blissfully unaware that she has sexual needs. She buys a vibrator. “Lust Stories” will not shock Western viewers but in India, where women are not supposed to be sexually demanding, it has caused a stir.