Film Choice: 08/08/11

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The Independent Culture

A Matter of Life and Death / 10.35am, More4

(Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1946) British bomber-pilot David Niven falls in love with US radio operator Kim Hunter after his time was supposedly up, and must argue the case for his continued existence in a celestial court. A visionary and superlative romantic fantasy that belies its humble origins as a propaganda film to promote the Anglo-American "special relationship".

Get Carter / 10pm, ITV4

(Mike Hodges, 1971) One of Michael Caine's signature roles is the cold-blooded London hardman Jack Carter (above), who stomps around Newcastle looking for clues as to who killed his brother, in this brutal and gritty British gangster film. It's a measure of how likeable an actor he is that such a cold and unpleasant film is so popular. The excellent soundtrack is by the British jazz musician Roy Budd.

Fear Eats the Soul / 11.55pm, Sky Movies Indie

(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973) In this classic of the German new wave, as in 'All That Heaven Allows', the Douglas Sirk film that inspired it, the relationship between a middle-aged woman and a much younger man throws society's prejudices into sharp relief. But this time the man is an Arab and the prejudices are racial. It's as vivid a melodrama as Sirk's film, but crueller and more uncompromising.

Riff Raff / 1.05am, Film4

(Ken Loach, 1990) 'Riff Raff', starring Robert Carlyle and Ricky Tomlinson as non-unionised labourers on a London building site, still has a strong social conscience but it is one of Ken Loach's lighter-hearted films: an ensemble comedy full of naturalistic banter and earthy humour.