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Based on the Book…

Literature has inspired some of the greatest films ever made.

Literary adaptations often get a bad press, with the books’ fans lamenting the necessary excision of events in the book or the loss of tone and character. Yet the best film adaptations capture the mood of the original while completely reimagining the story in their transition to the big screen.

 

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The Eight MountainsThe Eight Mountains

Drama2022147 minsDirector: Felix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch

An epic journey of friendship and self-discovery set against a magnificent and breath-taking Italian landscape, winner of the 2022 Cannes Jury Prize.

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Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights

Drama2011129 minsDirector: Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold's bold re-imagining of the Emily Brontë classic.

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The HandmaidenThe Handmaiden

Crime2016146 minsDirector: Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker) channels Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, to create a sumptuous twisty psychological thriller full of erotic intrigue.

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The Quiet GirlThe Quiet Girl

Drama202191 minsDirector: Colm Bairéad

A neglected girl lives a joyful summer in Colm Bairéad's Academy Award-nominated debut that combines outstanding beauty and heart-wrenching performances.

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Lady MacbethLady Macbeth

Period drama201789 minsDirector: William Oldroyd

Florence Pugh shines in this exceptional British debut of a young wife's need for freedom, whatever the cost.

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IkiruIkiru

Drama1952143 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

A bureaucrat’s life finds new meaning in Kurosawa’s classic original, the source for Bill Nighy’s brilliant drama, Living.

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MetropolisMetropolis

Science Fiction1927150 minsSilentDirector: Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang’s expressionist, dystopian vision is one of the first science fiction feature films, and is arguably the most influential.

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FirebirdFirebird

Drama2021107 minsDirector: Peeter Rebane

At the height of the Cold War, a love triangle between a junior officer, his best friend and a handsome fighter pilot enters dangerous territory.

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ZamaZama

Drama2017115 minsDirector: 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.

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Ghost WorldGhost World

Comedy2001107 minsDirector: Terry Zwigoff

Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch star as a pair of social outcasts struggling to make sense of the world around them, in this sublime love story based on the work of underground artist Daniel Clowes.

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Black OrpheusBlack Orpheus

Romance1959107 minsDirector: Marcel Camus

Academy Award and Palme d'Or-winning adaption of the Orpheus myth, incorporating the music, costume and dance of Brazil’s Rio Festival.

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High and LowHigh and Low

Crime1963143 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s procedural crime masterpiece, from Ed McBain’s gritty novel, follows an industrialist who faces an agonising choice as a result of a botched kidnapping by ruthless criminals.

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KwaidanKwaidan

Anthology1964183 minsDirector: Masaki Kobayashi

This stunningly beautiful anthology of Japanese ghost stories is one of the most meticulously crafted supernatural films ever made.

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OldboyOldboy

Thriller2003120 minsDirector: Park Chan-wook

Park’s wilfully grotesque fable about an abductee trying to fathom the mysteries of his past.

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Nosferatu the VampyreNosferatu the Vampyre

Horror1979107 minsDirector: Werner Herzog

English language version of Herzog’s stimulating take on the Dracula story starring Klaus Kinski, with echoes of Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu.

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A Man EscapedA Man Escaped

Drama1956101 minsDirector: Robert Bresson

Robert Bresson’s riveting tale of a Gestapo prisoner determined to regain his freedom, based on real events.

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Between Two WorldsBetween Two Worlds

Drama2021106 minsDirector: Emmanuel Carrère

Juliette Binoche plays an undercover reporter investigating the conditions faced by France’s working women in this insightful, involving drama.

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The Kreutzer SonataThe Kreutzer Sonata

Drama201096 minsDirector: Bernard Rose

Bernard Rose updates Tolstoy's tale about the corrupting power of sex and jealousy, with Danny Huston as the wealthy husband of a beautiful, famous pianist (Elisabeth Röhm).

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The New GirlfriendThe New Girlfriend

Melodrama2014108 minsDirector: François Ozon

Ruth Rendell provides the source novel for this delicious tale of deception and identity, from the master of mischievous melodrama, François Ozon.

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Christiane F.Christiane F.

Drama1981131 minsDirector: Uli Edel

David Bowie’s image and music gives brooding energy to this tale of a junkie sex-worker in 70s Berlin.

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AniaraAniara

Science Fiction2018106 minsDirector: Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja

The passengers on an interstellar space-liner are thrown into turmoil when their mission goes off course, in this compassionate and thought-provoking sci-fi drama.

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CrashCrash

Drama1996100 minsDirector: David Cronenberg

Technology and sexuality meet in head-on collision in David Cronenberg’s controversial adaptation of writer J.G. Ballard’s hugely transgressive 1973 novel, starring James Spader and Holly Hunter.

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Love & FriendshipLove & Friendship

Comedy201693 minsDirector: Whit Stillman

Whit Stillman crosses the Atlantic for this irresistible Jane Austen adaptation, following the delicious and devious exploits of Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale).

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Cobra VerdeCobra Verde

Drama1987110 minsDirector: Werner Herzog

Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog’s final collaboration is a typically wild and adventurous story of a bandit who trains an army of women to topple a slave-trading king

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Fantastic PlanetFantastic Planet

Animation & Artists Moving Image197372 minsDirector: René Laloux

René Laloux and Roland Topor’s surreal, psychedelic sci-fi animation imagines a world in which humanoid creatures are kept as pets by a race of giants.

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Les Enfants TerriblesLes Enfants Terribles

Drama1949106 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Melville

Jean-Pierre Melville’s film of Jean Cocteau's controversial novel about a teenage brother and sister and their intense, closeted relationship.

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The Angelic ConversationThe Angelic Conversation

Animation & Artists Moving Image198581 minsDirector: Derek Jarman

The Angelic Conversation sees Derek Jarman conjure an evocative and radical visualisation of Shakespeare’s love poems. With narration by Judi Dench and music by Coil.

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La Belle et la BêteLa Belle et la Bête

Fantasy194695 minsDirector: Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau’s ravishingly restored 1946 film is a cinematic classic. “Five stars. [This] magical exploration of the fairytale is a compelling and bizarre masterpiece” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the SeaThe Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

Drama1976105 minsDirector: Lewis John Carlino

When an English widow, Anne (Sarah Miles, Ryan’s Daughter) falls in love with a dashing American sailor (singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson), her jealous teenage son goes to horrific lengths to restore the status quo.

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