Coniston re-creates a sad, violent chapter in Australia's history.
Coniston, ABC1, 9.30pm
A QUIRKY film (if you can call a film about a massacre quirky) detailing the slaughter of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of indigenous Australians in the late 1920s. Made by David Batty and Francis Jupurrurla Kelly, the team responsible for the delightful Bush Mechanics, this takes the common documentary route of combining re-enactments with interviews. But we also get to see the Warlpiri people and their neighbours as they practise their roles in the re-enactments, and Jupurrurla as he casts and directs them and collects his source material. It's a really interesting breaking of the fourth wall and often wryly funny. The other aspect of Coniston that will stick with you is the comprehensive social and family memory of the events (comprehensive in detail but also in understanding) and the way it's clearly passed into lore (the old ladies tend to sing their information rather than speak it). Intriguing.
Louis Theroux: Extreme Love - Dementia, ABC2, 8.30pm
AS THE title indicates, tonight Louis is spending time with people with dementia, from high-end care facilities to ordinary suburban homes. The settings are pretty and comfortable, and the residents, on the whole, cheerful. But there's something deeply unsettling, and deeply poignant, about the insights into the raddled mess of their minds. There's nothing linear or predictable about the way the disease manifests itself or the way it progresses. Some people are clearly dotty and we catch a glimpse of some sufferers in the final catatonic stages. But most appear disconcertingly rational and functional, only they can't remember what was said to them 30 seconds ago, or that they've been married 25 years, or even their own name. That disconnect seems to throw Louis like little else he's encountered. Early on he's upbraided by a carer - gently - for discussing a resident with her daughter in front of the old lady as if she wasn't in the room. On other occasions he speaks to the old folk as if they were two-year-olds: loudly, slowly and with extravagant hand and facial gestures. He even comes close to losing his temper when a poor woman, still in her 40s and with early-onset dementia - to all appearances lively and intelligent and in perfect control of her faculties - cannot dial her own number on a mobile phone. (''Look! The two! It's right there in front of you! You can still read, can't you?'') And it's that as much as anything that illustrates just how difficult and mysterious and heartbreaking the disease is. In one particularly painful moment a woman is asked by her doctor to draw a clock face. She manages to inscribe a circle but her efforts from there - the painful, disjointed scratchings on the page - seem like a perfect illustration of the disintegration of her mind. This hour is also about love, though: of the carers, the spouses, the children for their increasingly helpless and unknowable charges. And sadly dementia is still the kind of disease where ultimately love is the only ''treatment'' anyone can offer.