‘Fauda’ and its secret weapon

2 queens and a houseful of kittens

A scene from Fauda (photo credit: Courtesy)
A scene from Fauda
(photo credit: Courtesy)
We’re deep into Season Two of Fauda, and so far the most appealing and intriguing character is not any of the terrorists or counterterrorists but Dr. Shirin Al Abed, the serious Palestinian physician who looks like a Modigliani painting, played by French actress Laetitia Eido. She has acted all over the world and has a kind of Middle Eastern Audrey Hepburn vibe. It’s her strong and sexy screen presence that makes her stand out in Fauda. A devoted doctor, she is forced to marry her terrorist cousin, Walid (Shadi Mar’i), in order to save herself from being killed. Some of the most memorable scenes this season have focused on her terror and despair at having to be Walid’s wife, when she doesn’t love or respect him. The expression in her eyes in these scenes is more dramatic than a dozen explosions or car chases.
Sean Penn is a great actor, although his public persona can be annoying. But he’s surprisingly good as a director. The best film he has made thus far is the 2007 Into the Wild, which is showing on YES VOD around the clock and will air on YES 3 on February 11 at 10 p.m. Based on the book by Jon Krakauer, the film tells the true story of Christopher McCandless (played by Emile Hirsch), a bright college graduate who seemingly had a wonderful future ahead of him but sold all his possessions and went off into the Alaskan wilderness to fend for himself. It may not sound like a very compelling story, but Penn makes it sing. McCandless meets all kinds of eccentrics on his journey, all of whom touch his life briefly. Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, Vince Vaughn and Kristen Stewart co-star.
Alex Gibney’s acclaimed documentary No Stone Unturned will be shown on February 11 on YES Docu at 10 p.m. and on YES VOD, and will be rebroadcast on YES Docu on February 16 at 10:30 p.m. Gibney is one of the world’s foremost documentary directors, and he won an Oscar for Taxi to the Dark Side, about torture during the war in Afghanistan, and an Emmy for Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.
No Stone Unturned is about an unsolved 1994 Loughinisland, Northern Island, massacre. Two gunmen entered the Heights Bar, a small pub in the countryside, and opened fire, killing six men who were there to watch the World Cup broadcast on television. The investigation takes many twists and turns, but no culprits or clear motivations are ever found. Some speculate that the killings were meant as a warning that the conflict in Northern Ireland would never end.
The popular comedy podcast-turned four-part HBO special 2 Dope Queens is available on HOT VOD and HOT HBO and YES VOD and YES Oh on Saturdays at 6:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. It features Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, two African-Americans who do appealing stand-up comedy. They are joined by a number of guests, including Jon Stewart and Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s also on Cellcom TV.
“Everything is fine” – that’s John Oliver’s new slogan. The British comic whose show Last Week Tonight mixes political commentary and comedy, will be back on in the US on February 18. The show will be aired here on HOT HBO and HOT VOD at midnight on January 19.
If the Big Brother series puts you to sleep (if I want to watch annoying people arguing, I can just drop by my neighbors’ apartment), you might warm to a cuter version. The show Meow Manor bills itself as “just like that show where you watch a bunch of people who live together in a house…but with cats.” The frisky felines – Grimur Grimsson, Olafia and Pawel – are from Iceland and live in an apartment filled with cat toys. It’s on a network called UPtv, and you can tune in at http:// uptv.com/meow-manor/meowmanor- a-special-up-seriespreview/ . There is also a live stream called Keeping up with the Kattarshians at http://kattarshians.tv/ , which is sponsored by the Icelandic Cat Protection Society.