Tickling Giants (dir-scr Sara Taksler)
During the Egyptian revolution 2011 Bassem Youseff, cardiologist by day, satirist by night, starting making five minute shows for his Youtube channel. Within three months they had had five million views. Youseff finds himself the golden boy of Egyptian comedy, and has a networked TV show, Al Bernameg (The Show) by the end of that year.
The massively popular Youseff offends the newly elected President Morsi, and a warrant is issued for his arrest. He turns himself in, arriving at the police station with hundreds of followers, and seems to charm himself out of the charges. However, the network, CBC, takes him off air, brings Al Bernameg back, then cancels it altogether.
Another network takes Al Bernameg on, but during this time General Al Sisi overthrows Morsi. The personal cost of running a satirical show under a military dictatorship starts to show on the large team. Bassem Youseff natural effervescence, both in front and behind the cameras, disappears when he is off air. Physically he changes as if he has done a four-year presidential term himself.
Al Bernameg’s satire is spot-on, and Youseff is engaging, eloquent and very, very funny. Tickling Giants is a very satisfying, and salutary watch about the value, and cost, of free speech.
Mindhorn (dir Sean Foley, scr Julian Barratt, Simon Farnaby)
Richard Thorncroft (also played by The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barrett) was Manx TV detective Mindhorn in the 1980s, and has done very little since except lose his hair. Called back to the Isle of Man to help police negotiate with a Mindhorn obsessed killer. Obviously, things go drastically wrong. Mostly because of Thorncroft’s massive ego and self-delusion. There are plenty of laughs in Mindhorn and its 89 minutes skipped along nicely.