What’s on TV Saturday: ‘Father Soldier Son’ and the Dance on Camera Festival


FATHER SOLDIER SON Stream on Netflix. This documentary, which was directed by the New York Times journalists Catrin Einhorn and Leslye Davis, has been 10 years in the making. Though much has been reported about the hardships some soldiers and their families face upon returning home from combat, this film focuses on one family and chronicles its changing dynamic. It begins in 2010, when Master Sgt. Brian Eisch, a single father, leaves two young sons for a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. He then returns home following a serious injury, which requires his leg to be amputated below the knee. His experience at war and back at home — where he not only struggles physically, but with a loss of identity — ultimately affects what his sons hope for their own futures. “Life, in ‘Father Soldier Son’ does not move in a circle,” Jessica Kiang wrote in her review for The New York Times, “but in an incrementally decaying orbit around the values that, in making us what we are, also keep us from being anything else.”

DANCE ON CAMERA FESTIVAL Stream and buy tickets at danceoncamerafestival.org. This festival has showcased all the ways dance can be represented onscreen since 1971, but this year will be the first that viewers can stream it online. Saturday’s programming includes a look at the making of “Land of Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker”; a short by Claire Marshall called “Shift”; and “Revival,” a documentary about a group of older dancers in Harlem. “Since most of this year’s selections — abstract and narrative, short and feature-length, documentary, animated — were conceived and created before the pandemic, they serve as reminders of the possibilities of filming dance in a less panicked state,” Brian Seibert wrote in a Critic’s Notebook. “And at a time when dance on camera is almost the only kind of dance, they provide a chance to consider what matters in such a film.”

BLESSED CHILD Rent or buy on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. This documentary, directed by Cara Jones, offers an inside look at a religious organization that is widely regarded as a cult. Jones and her brother, who serves as the cinematographer, look at their family’s involvement in the Unification Church, founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. In his review for The New York Times, Ben Kenigsberg wrote that Cara Jones’s former affiliation “gives her a complicated, at times surprisingly sympathetic outlook on the cult.”

MURDER IN THE VINEYARD 8 p.m. on Lifetime. Helena Mattsson and Emma Fuhrmann star in this made-for-TV movie about a mother who tries to protect her daughter from bullies at her new school. After Emma (Mattsson) and her daughter, Beatrice (Fuhrmann), move to a new town, Beatrice attracts the attention of a boy at her new school. But soon she becomes the target of mysterious harassment, and Emma tries to save her before things turn deadly.

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