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The Age

Programs - Wednesday

Author: Meaghan Shaw, Paul Harris, Paul Kalina, Darrin Farrant
Date: 26/03/1998
Words: 750
          Publication: The Age
Section: Green Guide
Page: 44
Critics Choice

About Us: Levantes, SBS, 8pm

Levantes - which means "East Wind" in Greek - follows a fictitious Greek-Australian man who is blown, as it were, eastwards from Athens to Eastern Turkey; from the centre of the Greek world to its edge. You never see the young man, who is travelling to Turkey to avoid military service, but you hear him as he sends a series of video-postcards to his Greek-Australian friend back home. "My dear friend..." he begins as he reaches each new place - Athens, Ioannina, Thessalonika, Thraki, Istanbul and the Black Sea coast - before relating to his mate his disgust at the way Turks are treated in Greece and his pleasure at the way he was welcomed in Istanbul. He uses his friend as an outlet, to express the feelings that he could never express to Greeks while travelling in their country. It's eye-opening stuff for anyone not familiar with the history of the Balkans - the exchange of populations, the persecution of Jews, the Macedonian issue, and the treatment of Turks. "It is illegal to call yourself Turkish in Greece," the young man (narrated by Triple R's Chris Hatzis) says to his friend. "You can only be a bilingual Greek who happens to be a Muslim."

The film-makers, Lisa Horler and Fionn Skiotis, made Levantes from an unashamedly Greek-Australian

perspective and believe its style is close to the protest poetry of the 1960s and '70s. For anyone not interested in the political material, the scenes Horler and Skiotis capture are just beautiful - the type of insightful, modern images you might expect from a Michael Palin adventure.

Wildside, ABC, 8.30pm

Detective Bill McCoy (Tony Martin) has to come to terms with his hang-ups about homosexuality as he is confronted by the murder of a gay man as well as the appearance of his lesbian sister, Kate (former Home And Away star Dee Smart). Fortunately, the characters' sexuality is just an extra dimension to the drama rather than an issue in itself. In the subplot, McCoy's aspiring partner Charlie Coustos (Alex Dimitriades) helps out a trouble-making 10-year-old, Rana Jones (skilfully played by Pip McGrouther) who just needs some love and attention. While the resolution of both plots is unconvincing, the excellent acting and dialogue make the episode worth viewing.

Profiler, Channel 7, 9.30pm

This X-Files try-hard is just woeful - full of wooden actors with furrowed brows who talk very quickly when speculating about the traits of their suspect and thus hopefully appearing terribly intelligent. In this episode, Dr Samantha Waters (Ally Walker) and the team from the FBI's violent crimes taskforce is looking for a bomber who always strikes twice. Hmmmm, speculates Sam, the suspect must be male, white, a loner with above-average intelligence, acting out of anger and with a political bent. Holy Unabomber, Batman!

If only they were poking fun at themselves.

MOVIE: Over The Hill (1991) Channel 7, noon

American import Olympia Dukakis fails to enliven a mediocre outback comedy that squanders the talents of a good cast (Sigrid Thornton, Bill Kerr, Steve Bisley) under the uninspired direction of George Miller.


MOVIE: Life On The Edge, SBS, 9.30pm

Are you in the mood for a rural melodrama, set in China during the 1920s, about an outlaw (Li Xuejian) who attempts to avenge an insult to his girlfriend (Xu Fan)? Apart from the rugged grandeur of the remote setting there's not much to recommend it.


The Pick Of Pay TV

FOXTEL: Monkey Business, TV1, 5pm

From today's perspective, the Monkees phenomenon of 30 years ago is unnervingly prescient. The TV series of 1966-67 was shamelessly derivative (The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night) and uncannily knowing in its methods of pop-music star making. Who, today, would even blink an eye at the thought of building a music phenomenon around four photogenic guys with charm to burn, and stealing the bulk of the ideas from somebody else? And then there was their feature film Head, which pre-empted by at least 20 years the contemporary mockumentary with its gleeful cry, "look everyone, it's one big put-on". Unreeling tonight are six episodes of the series, plus the ground-breaking, psychedelic film directed by Bob Rafelson, co-written and co-produced by Jack Nicholson.

OPTUS: Singled Out, MTV, 10pm

MTV premieres its new dating-show series. There's no Dexter, but there are overweight boys wearing nappies and angel wings. There's a wild-and-crazy co-host, the ubiquitous cover girl and occasional film actor Jenny McCarthy, who sounds like a cross between Nanny Fine's mother and Alicia Silverstone's Cher. In a studio filled with members of the opposite sex, a single contestant eliminates suitors. This is no-brainer, goofball stuff that relies on the conventional appeals of spunky babes who want to impress and nerdy, sloppy boys proud of having only one thing on their minds. -- Paul Kalina


Creative Tension, Triple R (102.7), 7pm to 8pm

The human's ability to consume gossipy trash and news trivia is astonishingly high, and here's one more option for satisfying your appetite. Co-hosted by media regulars Michael Bodey (The Age, Beat), Michaela Boland (3LO, InPress, and former PBS) and Brett De Hoedt (former PBS), Creative Tension trawls the news and entertainment stories of the week to come up with its own spin - whether it's on Jeff Kennett or Leonardo diCaprio. The show has only just kicked off after Boland left PBS's movie show, The Back Row, which can be heard in the same timeslot. -- Darrin Farrant

On The Web

Profiler, Channel 7, 9.30pm

Get the profiles of the Profiler team, including our own Julian McMahon (aka Agent John Grant).

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