Maxine Peake gives a formidable performance as an aspiring female comedian standing up to a violent husband and the sexist Northern England club circuit. If you think that modern comedy is still lacking in gender equality, then this tough, streetwise British film shows that it’s also made giant strides since the in-your-face chauvinism of working men’s clubs in decades past. And yet, ill-treatment by men is something our eponymous heroine is grimly used to, from childhood beatings to an abusive husband (scriptwriter Tony Pitts, on terrifying form).
More a film about the power of laughter and how to transform pain into humour than a straight-up comedy, Funny Cow is a fitting showcase for Peake. So often dazzling on stage and television, she’s hilarious and heart-breaking here. There’s fine support too from cast-against-type Paddy Considine as her middle-class paramour and a swooning, melancholic soundtrack by Richard Hawley.
Drama 2016 88 mins Director: John Carroll Lynch
Harry Dean Stanton gives the performance of a lifetime as an irascible nonagenarian maverick in a New Mexican town, grappling with his mortality.
I Got Life!
Comedy 2017 86 mins Director: Blandine Lenoir
This heart-warming story of a grandmother who finds a new love and decides to start over is a hilarious and joyous ode to the female experience.
Comedy 1963 121 mins Director: Tony Richardson
Tony Richardson's raucous and innovative adaptation of Henry Fielding’s classic novel was the winner of four Academy Awards.
Comedy 2017 91 mins Director: Trudie Styler
Alex Lawther is outstanding as a teenage rebel in this tale of an unrepentant high-school outsider, directed by Trudie Styler.
Seat in Shadow
Drama 2016 81 mins Director: Henry Coombes
An ageing Glaswegian psychoanalyst finds his lust for life renewed following an encounter with the charismatic partner of a young patient.
The Death of Stalin
Comedy 2017 107 mins Director: Armando Iannucci
Chaos and comedy ignite in Armando Iannucci’s acerbic satire, as Soviet officials frantically react to the passing of their glorious leader.
Drama 2014 98 mins Director: Christian Petzold
Nina Hoss is superb as concentration camp survivor who assumes a new identity, in Christian Petzold’s intricate post-WWII thriller.
Robinson in Ruins
Documentary 2010 101 mins Director: Patrick Keiller
The head of a research organisation arranges Robinson’s abandoned research on the English landscape to uncover the origins of capitalist catastrophe.
Drama 1923 96 mins Silent Director: Alexander Butler
Family Planning: The Movie. The film they didn't want you to see in 1923.
Comedy 2016 118 mins Director: Jim Jarmusch
Adam Driver excels in this effortlessly charming tale of a bus driver poet in New Jersey, filmed with typically groovy elan by Jim Jarmusch.
Drama 2017 115 mins Director: Lucrecia Martel
Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel returns with a fine adaptation of Antonio Di Benedetto’s existential novel. In her first feature since 2008’s The Headless Woman, Martel creates a richly layered exploration of personal malaise.
Drama 2017 95 mins Director: Dan Kokotajlo
A deeply religious family must decide whether to stick by their relation or abandon her, in this striking debut from Daniel Kokotajlo - a prizewinner at BFI London Film Festival 2017.
Featuring Maxine Peake
Featuring Paddy Considine
Drama 2016 92 mins Director: Paddy Considine
Paddy Considine directs and stars in this emotional knockout - the story of a boxer rebuilding his life after a near-fatal injury.
Drama 2015 113 mins Director: Justin Kurzel
Fassbender is ferocious as the Scottish king in Justin Kurzel’s red-blooded and viscerally atmospheric Shakespeare adaptation.
Comedy 2010 97 mins Director: Richard Ayoade
Richard Ayoade’s sweet and quirky directorial debut about a Swansea teen’s travails with his distant girlfriend and warring parents.
Comedy 2014 120 mins Director: Matthew Warchus
The smash culture-clash comedy tells the incredible true story of how miners and a Gay Pride support group come together to fight a common cause.
Drama 2017 135 mins Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Marion Cotillard, Mathieu Almaric and Charlotte Gainsbourg form a bizarre love triangle at the heart of Arnaud Desplechin's elaborate, playful comic-thriller.
Malila: The Farewell Flower
2017 95 mins Director: Anucha Boonyawatana
A dream-like encounter between two ex-lovers becomes a meditation on love, life and loss in this hauntingly beautiful film.
Drama 2017 118 mins Director: Jonas Carpignano
A boy's life on the mean streets of a cloistered Calabrian community is captured in eye-opening realism, in this stunning work from the director of Mediterranea.
Drama 2017 102 mins Director: Simon Hunter
Sheila Hancock is tremendous as a widow who sets out to scale a Scottish mountain, in this gorgeously photographed paean to late-life adventure.
On Chesil Beach
Drama 2017 110 mins Director: Dominic Cooke
Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle play a young, married couple struggling to physically connect in this sensitive adaptation of Ian McEwan’s acclaimed novel.
Drama 2017 98 mins Director: Carla Simón
An outstanding debut feature charting the emotional journey of a six-year old girl in the aftermath of her mother’s death in early 1990s Spain.