What’s on TV Sunday: ‘Samson et Dalila’ and ‘The Revenant’

What’s on TV Sunday: ‘Samson et Dalila’ and ‘The Revenant’

A Metropolitan Opera production airs on PBS. And Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” brings operatic intensity to FXM.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET: SAMSON ET DALILA 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The star singers Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna lead this Metropolitan Opera production of Saint-Saëns’s biblical work, staged last year with old-fashioned extravagance by the director Darko Tresnjak (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”). The adaptation, in which Garanca plays Dalila to Alagna’s Samson, retells the Old Testament tale of a doomed love affair set in Gaza, with enslaved Israelites suffering under the oppression of the Philistines. The high emotional stakes of the story can make for grand spectacle. But, in his review of this production for The New York Times last year, Anthony Tommasini wrote that Tresnjak’s staging “somehow managed to be both gaudy and dull.” Still, it’s not every Sunday that you can catch a filmed performance from one of the world’s great opera houses for free from the comfort of your couch.

THE REVENANT (2015) 7:45 p.m. on FXM. Alejandro G. Iñárritu aspires to operatic intensity in this rugged revenge story. Fresh off his Oscar win for directing the midtown Manhattan-set “Birdman” the year before, Iñárritu here went deep into the wilderness and back to the 1820s, casting Leonardo DiCaprio as a quintessential American mountain man, Hugh Glass. After being left for dead on a fur expedition by a cruel companion (Tom Hardy), Glass plods through expansively (and expensively) shot, drop-dead-gorgeous snowy landscapes, bent on revenge. His journey involves intricately choreographed action, a wrestle with a bear and an extremely committed performance from DiCaprio. In her review for The Times, Manohla Dargis called the movie “an American foundation story, by turns soaring and overblown.”

AMERICAN INJUSTICE: A BET TOWN HALL 9 p.m. on BET. This hour long special assembles members of the Congressional Black Caucus — including the senators and presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris and Cory Booker — as well as political organizers and other lawmakers for a discussion about criminal justice reform. The recently-approved First Step Act is one of the topics discussed, as are potential solutions to racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Soledad O’Brien hosts.

GOLDEN EXITS (2018) Stream on Hulu; Rent on Amazon and iTunes. In a quiet corner of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, the arrival of a young, beautiful Australian, Naomi (Emily Browning), tests the relationships among two groups of complicated, prickly people. It’s a small-scale premise for this intimate and at times claustrophobic movie, written and directed by Alex Ross Perry (Manohla Dargis called Perry a “virtuoso of unease” in her review of the film for The Times). Adam Horovitz, Chloë Sevigny, Mary-Louise Parker and Jason Schwartzman play the Brooklynites.

THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (2005) Stream on Netflix; Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. Douglas Adams’s cult interstellar farce comes alive in this vivid adaptation. Martin Freeman stars as Arthur Dent, an English Everyman who survives the destruction of Earth thanks to his alien friend, Ford Prefect (Mos Def). It’s some of the most distinctly British humor you’ll find this side of MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975), which also happens to be streaming on Netflix.

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