Regarded as the finest work from the first great era of Chinese filmmaking, Fei Mu’s quiet, piercingly poignant study of adulterous desire and guilt-ridden despair – now restored – is a remarkable rediscovery. After eight years of marriage to Liyan – once rich but now sickly and almost suicidally apathetic following a long, ruinous war – Yuwen does little except deliver his daily medication. A surprise visit from Liyan’s friend Zhang re-energises the household, but also stirs up dangerously suppressed longings and resentments to the fore.
Fei Mu’s deft use of locations, dissolves and camera movements makes for a fraught, febrile mood of hesitant passion, entrapment and ennui; sophisticated cinematically and psychologically, the film eschews sentimentality for something far more beguiling.
Drama 2019 105 mins Director: Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
In this playful, dark comedy a dominatrix offers a widower an unexpected chance for sexual and psychological release.
Romance 2020 81 mins Director: Rachel Hirons
Alexandra Roach (Utopia) and George MacKay (1917) play a couple hopelessly navigating the world of millennial dating, in Rachel Hirons’ distinctly filthy and cringe-heavy comedy.
Drama 1987 0 mins Director: Emile Ardolino
A retro, music-filled classic about teen romances and strict attitudes to sex.
Comedy 2019 108 mins Director: Takashi Miike
A terminally-ill boxer, a runaway call girl, a double-crossing drugs heist and a gang war; Takashi Miike doesn’t do things by halves.
Romance 2019 84 mins Director: Lucio Castro
A chance encounter reconnects two men in this heart-breaking lament on love, lust and missed opportunities.
Drama 2019 90 mins Director: Rashaad Ernesto Green
Budding writer Ayanna’s life is transformed over the course of one hot Harlem summer, when a handsome and mysterious stranger walks into her life.
Mark Cousins Selects
Crime 1947 116 mins Director: Carol Reed
Wounded during a robbery, a gunman attempts to escape police in Carol Reed's moody Irish thriller, starring James Mason.
Drama 1950 100 mins Director: Roberto Rossellini
In her first collaboration with Roberto Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman stars as a refugee who marries a fisherman and moves to a barren island.
Drama 1980 151 mins Director: Helma Sanders-Brahms
Set during the Third Reich and its aftermath, this lyrical, harrowing tale of love and war is a neglected classic of New German cinema.
Documentary 1929 75 mins Silent Director: Viktor Turin
With bold and exhilarating flair, Turksib charts the monumental efforts to build a railway linking the regions of Turkestan and Siberia in 1920s USSR.
Documentary 2007 90 mins Director: Gideon Koppel
Gideon Koppel’s charming documentary about a small farming community in mid-Wales, observing the unalterable rhythms of country life and the monthly visits of a mobile library.
Drama 2016 84 mins Director: Mark Cousins
Neneh Cherry, director Mark Cousins and cinematographer Christopher Doyle's exquisite love song to the Swedish city.
Historical drama 2019 126 mins Director: Todd Haynes
Mark Ruffalo plays an attorney trying to uncover the corporate scandal of a chemical company poisoning a local community, in this searching ecological drama from Todd Haynes (Safe, Carol).
Drama 2019 89 mins Director: Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog is on typically thought-provoking form, dramatising the work of a ‘rent-a-relative’ service, in this Tokyo-set meditation on contemporary alienation.
Drama 2019 109 mins Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Iceland’s finest actor Ingvar Sigurðsson gives a heart-breaking and Cannes award-winning performance as widowed cop who becomes increasingly obsessed with his wife’s death.
Documentary 2020 97 mins Director: Kirby Dick
A searing exploration of the costs of coming forward, turning up the volume on one of the biggest #MeToo stories in the music industry.
Drama 2019 112 mins Director: Thomas Clay
The wife of a puritanical farmer seems resigned to her lot, until she has her head turned by the arrival of a young couple in Thomas Clay’s provocative period drama.
Drama 2020 121 mins Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Jesse Eisenberg brings to life the extraordinary true story of mime artist Marcel Marceau’s role in rescuing Jewish orphans from the Nazis.