What are you watching? Readers recommend 'Out of Africa,' 'Cherif'

Monitor TV and movie fans share what they've been watching lately.

I enjoy the police detective series Cherif, which airs on the French channel TV5MONDE and in the United States on TV5MONDE USA. 

It’s well-written, well-acted, and allows viewers to sharpen their language skills.

– Elaine Zavodni-Sjoquist, United States

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
‘Penn & Teller: Fool Us'

My favorite show from outside the US is Penn & Teller: Fool Us, which originally aired on ITV in Britain and now airs on the CW in the US. 

I’m a space engineer, but I do some magic as a hobby. So I like to watch all the illusionists on the show and try to understand how they do it. And I like the “scientific” mind-set of Penn and Teller: Magic is not wizardry but a lot of study, creativity, and exercise.

– Sergio Palumberi, Munich, Germany

I have a few movies that I watch at least once a year: Now, Voyager; All About Eve; Holiday Inn; Mame; Yankee Doodle Dandy; and of course A Christmas Carol – the version starring Alastair Sim. 

These films were all family favorites growing up. We would watch them at family gatherings. My aunt, mother, and I would make some ice cream and watch Bette Davis and chat about life. 

The films are like old friends we revisit together at holidays as I carry the tradition forward with my daughters.

– Michelle Neal, Glendale, Ariz.

My favorite sitcom is NewsRadio, which aired on NBC. Smart humor from a terrific ensemble cast.

– Steve Wittich, Carmel, Ind.

A movie I watch over and over again is Out of Africa. I can remember being with my dear friend Scooter watching “Out of Africa” in a movie theater and sobbing from the moment the airplane flew over the birds and African landscape to the death of Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) and the lions lying over his grave. 

On the first viewing, I was a young, romantic woman crying over the beauty and heartbreak. But as I have matured, I have embraced the real meaning of the movie and the lessons Isak Dinesen (the pen name of Baroness Karen Blixen) learned about accepting Africa and Finch Hatton, and not trying to change them and bend them to your own will – that loving means letting them be what they are and not what you want or will them to be.  

– Esther de Ipolyi, Sugar Land, Texas

What are you watching? Write and tell us at whatareyouwatching@csmonitor.com.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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