War, politics and religion are hot topics amongst the court of the 17th century monarch Queen Kristina of Sweden. However, it’s her burgeoning sexuality and unapologetic desire to remain unmarried that causes the most consternation amongst her subjects and eventually leads to her self-imposed exile.
The Girl King is both an historical drama about a kingdom on the brink of modernisation and religious change, and a deeply personal love story between the young and wilful queen and her treasured lady-in-waiting, Countess Ebba. Following acting greats such as Greta Garbo and Liv Ullmann who’ve previously portrayed the queen, Malin Buska gives a commanding performance as Kristina; magnificent and majestic in the throne room yet heartbreakingly vulnerable in her bedchamber. While veteran Finnish director Mika Kaurismaki endows the story with a keen sense of fun and a palpable tone of melodramatic excess.
Crime 2017 105 mins Director: Craig William Macneill
Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart captivate in this bodice-ripping retelling of the strange and fascinating case of Lizzie Borden.
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.
The God King
Historical drama 1974 99 mins Director: Lester James Peries
Epic tale set in 5th century Sri Lanka, following the battle for the throne between Kassapa and his father King Dhatusena.
Scott of the Antarctic
Historical drama 1948 110 mins Director: Charles Frend
This tale of adventure and daring was one of Ealing Studio’s most ambitious features, beautifully shot by Jack Cardiff with a Vaughan Williams score.
The Invisible Woman
Biopic 2012 111 mins Director: Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s book about the long-standing affair between Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan.
The Founding of a Republic
Historical drama 2009 140 mins Director: Han Sanping
Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen appear together for the first time in the epic, star-studded story of the birth of modern China.
Biopic 1986 93 mins Director: Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman’s unique biopic of the 17th century Italian artist Michelangelo da Caravaggio is a powerful meditation on sexuality, criminality and art.
Jimi All Is by My Side
Biopic 2013 118 mins Director: John Ridley
OutKast’s André Benjamin stars as Jimi Hendrix on the cusp of greatness, honing his act in Swinging London, in this revealing and alternative take on the rock biopic.
Behind the Candelabra
Biopic 2013 119 mins Director: Steven Soderbergh
Michael Douglas dazzles as the flamboyant virtuoso pianist Liberace in this fascinating biopic by Steven Soderbergh.
Biopic 2015 124 mins Director: Jay Roach
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo) gives a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who became a Hollywood outcast.
Drama 2006 103 mins Director: Stephen Frears
Helen Mirren won as Oscar for her performance as the enduring monarch who comes under scrutiny following the death of Princess Diana.
The King's Speech
Historical drama 2010 113 mins Director: Tom Hooper
Oscar-winning tale of the relationship between King George VI (Colin Firth) and the Australian speech therapist who treated his stammer.
Featuring Sarah Gadon
Horror 2012 108 mins Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Body horror and celebrity satire are served ice cold in this extreme offering from Brandon Cronenberg (son of David).
My Death Is a Mockery
Crime 1952 69 mins Director: Tony Young
Hop aboard for a choppy Channel crossing with this bleak, bullet-spattered sea-smuggling crime drama.
Room at the Top
Drama 1958 117 mins Director: Jack Clayton
Jack Clayton directs this romantic, love-triangle drama featuring Simone Signoret in an Oscar-winning performance.
Mary Queen of Scots
Period drama 2018 124 mins Director: Josie Rourke
Saoirse Ronan is Mary Stuart, facing off against Margot Robbie's Elizabeth I in this striking, feminist take on 16th-century history.
Drama 2018 121 mins Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet give blistering performances as a father and son in this gripping story of a family dealing with addiction over many years.
Biopic 2017 112 mins Director: Wash Westmoreland
This witty, Belle Époque-era biopic stars Keira Knightley and Dominic West as literary couple Colette and Willy, whose relationship rewrote social and gender rules.
Documentary 2018 98 mins Director: Marcus Lindeen
Imagine Big Brother at sea, but with no evictions. Director Marcus Lindeen innovatively uncovers the human stories behind a 1970s social experiment, salaciously dubbed ‘The Sex Raft’.