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Tilda Swinton selects

The extraordinary performer selects the films that inspire her from BFI Player Subscription.

Detailing eight essential works which Swinton expounds upon, plus a further selection of greats that are close to her heart.

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I Was Born, But...I Was Born, But...

Comedy193287 minsSilentDirector: Yasujiro Ozu

Ozu's silent masterpiece follows two brothers as they try to outwit the local bully.

"Yasujiro Ozu’s beautiful 1932 wee silent masterpiece about childhood, brotherhood and learning about how to negotiate fathers and learn the rules of the game. "

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Stranger by the LakeStranger by the Lake

Drama2013100 minsDirector: Alain Guiraudie

A young man witnesses a violent crime at a gay cruising ground and becomes obsessed with the killer in Alain Guiraudie’s acclaimed mystery-thriller.

"Exquisitely atmospheric summer cruising. Boys looking for boys and the idyll of abandon. A breathtakingly swoony study in wicked tension, the romance of danger and real erotic yearning. "

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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

"Jean Cocteau’s resplendent fairy tale. Images you will never forget. The chandelier arms, the transcendent beauty of Jean Marais, the pearl of a drop of dew on a rose. Pure magic."

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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past LivesUncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Fantasy2010109 minsDirector: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong's Cannes prizewinner, about an ailing man revisiting his past, is a measured, lyrical evocation of mysterious beauty and quiet humanity.

"Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Palme d’Or winning dream of ghosts and monkey spirits in the Thai jungle. Slow cinema at its most immersive, lateral and resonant. It’s possible to believe you dreamed Apichatpong’s films after you see them.. they certainly take you somewhere you’ve never been before on this earth... don’t hurry back.."

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MedeaMedea

Drama1970111 minsDirector: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini directs opera singer Maria Callas in a vivid adaptation of Euripides' Greek tragedy.

"For Pasolini’s monumental/barbaric/visionary touch, for Cappadocia’s timelessly savage landscape, for Peiro Tosi’s jaw-dropping primeval costumes, for Maria Callas’ profile. A film inspired by Euripides, that feels like it was dug up from inside an ancient tomb, shot in 1968. Wild."

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Journey to ItalyJourney to Italy

Drama195486 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini's acerbic but finally very moving masterpiece about marital crisis boasts great performances from Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders

"One of the most elliptical and mesmerising films I know. George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman caught in a landscape of alienation - from each other, from southern Italy: a study in inarticulacy, loneliness and longing, built on a radiant belief in miracles."

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Tokyo StoryTokyo Story

Drama1953136 minsDirector: Yasujiro Ozu

A constant fixture in critics' polls, Yasujiro Ozu's most enduring masterpiece is a beautifully nuanced exploration of filial duty, expectation and regret.

"Possibly Ozu’s most famous work. Magisterial. The final journey of elderly parents to each of their grown children in turn. The heartbreak of generational disconnection and the inescapable tenderness of familial bonds, the comfort of human ritual and the inevitable turn of the Great Wheel. Profoundly moving."

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MM

Crime1931111 minsDirector: Fritz Lang

Peter Lorre is unforgettable as the compulsive child murderer on the run from both police and criminals alike, in Fritz Lang’s seminal crime film.

"Fritz Lang’s first sound film. The German Expressionist cine-temple. Peter Lorre as a child-murderer, Berlin 1932. A chase. A capture. Maybe the original psychological thriller: it implicates us all.. Mercilessly tough and unforgettably wise. "

FURTHER SELECTIONS

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Autumn SonataAutumn Sonata

Drama197892 minsDirector: Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman’s sole film with his namesake Ingrid sees her as a famous concert pianist visiting her daughter, played by a third giant of Swedish film, Liv Ullmann.

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Battleship PotemkinBattleship Potemkin

Historical drama192569 minsSilentDirector: Sergei M. Eisenstein

A fixture in the critical canon almost since its premiere, Eisenstein’s film about a 1905 naval mutiny was revolutionary in both form and content.

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Bicycle ThievesBicycle Thieves

Drama194889 minsDirector: Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio De Sica’s story of a father and son searching for a stolen bicycle on the streets of Rome is a classic of post-war Italian cinema.

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The Colour of PomegranatesThe Colour of Pomegranates

Animation & Artists Moving Image196880 minsDirector: Sergei Paradjanov

The film that Martin Scorsese compared to ‘opening a door and walking into another dimension, where time has stopped and beauty has been unleashed’.

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It Happened HereIt Happened Here

Science Fiction1965101 minsDirector: Kevin Brownlow

Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's legendary, independently produced speculative fiction, imagining the Nazi occupation of Britain.

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The Passion of Joan of ArcThe Passion of Joan of Arc

Biopic192780 minsSilentDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

An incontestable masterpiece of silent cinema, Carl Dreyer's deeply moving biopic features one of the most powerful performances ever captured on film.

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My ChildhoodMy Childhood

Drama197246 minsDirector: Bill Douglas

The first part of Bill Douglas’ poetic and profoundly stirring autobiographical trilogy, about an eight-year-old boy growing up in a Scottish mining village in 1945.

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My Ain FolkMy Ain Folk

Drama197355 minsDirector: Bill Douglas

The second part of the revered Bill Douglas Trilogy follows Jamie as he ends up in a children’s home.

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My Way HomeMy Way Home

Drama197872 minsDirector: Bill Douglas

Concluding his acclaimed Trilogy, Bill Douglas’ autobiographical film follows young Jamie as he’s conscripted in the RAF and finally feels at home.

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La Règle du jeuLa Règle du jeu

Drama1939102 minsDirector: Jean Renoir

Renoir's depiction of an intransigent society teetering towards disaster was derided upon release and only later acclaimed as one of cinema’s most vital films.

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What We Do in the ShadowsWhat We Do in the Shadows

Comedy201486 minsDirector: Taika Waititi

An achingly funny mockumentary about New Zealand’s hitherto unknown vampire (and werewolf) communities, from the creators of Flight of the Conchords.

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UnrelatedUnrelated

Drama200796 minsDirector: Joanna Hogg

On a Tuscan break a fortysomething woman finds herself drawn to the company of a group of partying teens, including a young Tom Hiddleston (in one of his earliest roles).

Tilda Swinton

Celebrating the extraordinary, convention-defying career of the chameleonic performer.

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