Moving film out of Africa

Teri Fitsell

WORLD blasts off its International Film Festival with a movie from, er, Burkina Faso. And if you think that's unusual, the channel ends it with one from Hollywood - Oliver Stone's The Doors.

True, the US is abroad as far as Hongkong is concerned but that doesn't usually count as ''international'' in this sense does it? If it does then virtually every film shown is ''international''.

Joking apart, tonight's offering Yaaba (World 9.30 pm, Original Running Time 90 mins) is the beautifully filmed story of a 12-year-old boy who falls for an older woman.

Their friendship leads to her being shunned by the rest of the villagers as a witch.

The dialogue is sparse, the scenery lovely.

YAABA may sound obscure, but it's got to be better than the dreadful action movie The Taking of Beverly Hills (Pearl 9.45pm, ORT 118 mins), which gathered dust on the shelf for more than a year after it was made before being granted limited cinema release.

The story is that baddie ''Mr Aries'' fakes a toxic waste spill in Beverly Hills, waits for the affluent area to be evacuated then send his boys in disguised as national guards to loot the houses.

Inevitably, Mr Aries ''didn't count on'' Ed Kelvin, a cop ''who's loyal to the city'' (what does that mean?) and Boomer Hayes, a black ex-athlete who will only go down fighting.

Ho hum.

A FAR better film is the tense drama Courage (STAR Plus, 8 pm, ORT 150 mins), in which Sophia Loren plays a mother who, horrified to discover her son is a drug addict, becomes an undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency. It's based on a true story.

Billy Dee Williams co-stars.

PATRICK Duffy of Dallas fame and Suzanne Somers from Three's Company star in the new sitcom Step by Step (World 7.30pm) which kicks off tonight.

That's the good news. The bad is that it was developed by Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett, two guys who actually own up to creating the hideously mawkish Full House (see World 6.30pm tomorrow).

That one revolves around three 'ickle girls, while Step by Step features no fewer than SIX kids aged between seven and 16. This leaves it ominously open to acres of cute kiddie jokes AND teenage angst.

Pass the sick bag Alice.

IT'S good to know there's alway Cheers (Pearl 9pm) to fall back on of a Monday evening.

This week Woody becomes a snob during a vacation with Kelly in London, while Sam puts Frazier on a physical training exercise.

THOSE long-suffering and much-maligned people, foreign domestic workers - generally known here as amahs - are the subject of The Pearl Report (Pearl, 7.35pm).

The team look at instances of exploitation, under-pay and physical abuse to which some have been subjected both in Hongkong and on the way here.