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1899, Qala and other titles to watch this weekend

A twisty new series from the makers of Dark, a baroque musical drama and other weekend viewing recommendations

A still from '1899'

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Mind Your Manners

If you always wanted to know, but thought it too frivolous to ask, how to tackle a banana with a fork and knife or stir tea, watch Sara Jane Ho in this six-episode series. Ho, who runs a finishing school in Beijing and Shanghai, walks the talk when she says etiquette is about putting other people at ease around you. As she guides her students—from a 50-year-old who has forgotten to take care of herself to a 25-year-old who likes cakey make-up and skimpy dresses—she gives tips on enunciation, deportment,  dating, style; there are lessons in archery, tai chi and so forth. Talking of stirring tea—the spoon should not touch the sides or the rim of the cup! (Netflix)

Also read: A guide to making music festivals more accessible

Qala

A famous young singer looks back on a lifetime of pain in this film by Anvitaa Dutt. Tripti Dimrii stars as Qala, with Swastika Mukherjee playing her intimidating mother. (Netflix) 

The Noel Diary

Jake Turner (Justin Hartley, of This Is Us) is a bestselling author, and an introvert—his companion is his Australian Shepherd Ava. But things are about to change. Jake is cleaning up his late mom's house around Christmas when Rachel (Barrett Doss) turns up at the doorstep. She is searching for her birth mother Noel, who used to be a nanny in the Turner household. Since Jake has no recollection, they decide to take a road trip to visit his estranged father. It's less "Hallmark" than the usual Christmas fare—and there's the lovely Ava Turner in a fetching supporting role. (Netflix)

Hold Me Tight

Clarisse (Vicky Krieps) abandons her husband and their two children and hits the road. This 2021 film by actor-director Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), told in puzzle-like fragments, is based on a play by Claudine Galea. (MUBI)

1899 

From the makers of the mind-bending German time-travel series Dark, the new sci-fi thriller 1899 starts excruciatingly slow on board an ocean steamship making its way from London to New York in the year 1899. Over the first three episodes, the show primarily introduces us to a wide, racially diverse and not particularly likeable cast of characters while the mystery of an older ship that was thought to have disappeared at sea unfolds in the background. Plough through the first few episodes, though, and 1899 starts becoming more rewarding, peeling off layer after layer of intrigue till you are left questioning everything in this universe. With shades of Westworld and its own spiritual predecessor Dark, 1899 ultimately ends its first season satisfyingly, yet leaves many questions to be answered in subsequent seasons—there's no doubt about this show being renewed by Netflix. (Netflix)

Also read: Pushpak at 35: The silence of the clowns

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