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Working Class Heroes

 A collection of films lit up by the charisma  of working-class stars; a celebration of fine actors and remarkable leading roles.

In Britain (for a time at least) film stars came from comprehensives and council houses. The story begins in the socially mobile 1960s as young working-class talent exploded through music, fashion and film. Through the 80s and 90s a new mood saw a series of inventive British films built around working-class faces, while 21st-century British cinema spotlit the junction of race and class. This season brings together the bold, powerful and provocative films that can  be made when working-class stars have the chance to shine.

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Sweet SueSweet Sue

Comedy2022100 minsDirector: Leo Leigh

A shameless woman finds her new lover’s son wants to divide them in this cringe comic drama starring Maggie O’Neill.

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TogetherTogether

Animation & Artists Moving Image195648 minsDirector: Lorenza Mazzetti

Two deaf-mute dock workers eke out a humble East End existence in Lorenza Mazzetti's striking and poetic example of Free Cinema.

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Silver HazeSilver Haze

Drama2023103 minsDirector: Sacha Polak

Dirty God director Sacha Polak and star Vicky Knight reunite for this daring drama about love, family and forgiveness, loosely inspired by Knight’s life.

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Gregory's GirlGregory's Girl

Comedy198192 minsDirector: Bill Forsyth

The ultimate depiction of coming-of-age awkwardness, Bill Forsyth’s comedy about a teen who falls for the new female footballer on the school team.

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MuscleMuscle

Drama2019111 minsDirector: Gerard Johnson

A directionless call centre salesman gets more than he bargained for when he joins a local gym, in Gerard Johnson's stunning dissection of masculinity.

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ScumScum

Drama197997 minsDirector: Alan Clarke

Director Alan Clarke examines the grim reality of borstal life in this searing remake of his previously banned television play.

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My Brother the DevilMy Brother the Devil

Drama2012107 minsDirector: Sally El Hosaini

Sally El Hosaini's feature debut tells of the love and disenchantment of two British-Egyptian brothers as gangs, drugs and sexuality come between them.

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The ArborThe Arbor

Biopic201090 minsDirector: Clio Barnard

Clio Barnard's film about Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar mixes reconstruction, interviews (performed by actors) and scenes from the plays.

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Red RoadRed Road

Thriller2006110 minsDirector: Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold’s highly acclaimed film, winner of top prizes at Cannes and the BFI London Film Festival, is a haunting drama about a woman confronting past demons.

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Distant Voices, Still LivesDistant Voices, Still Lives

Biopic198884 minsDirector: Terence Davies

Terence Davies' debut feature is a remarkable evocation of working-class family life in the 40s and 50s and a visionary exploration of memory.

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Of Time and the CityOf Time and the City

Documentary200874 minsDirector: Terence Davies

Brilliantly mixing archive film and music, Liverpool-born director Terence Davies reflects with wit and wisdom on a times of change, for good or ill

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Letter to BrezhnevLetter to Brezhnev

Comedy198594 minsDirector: Chris Bernard

A defining Merseyside film, in which two Liverpool lasses hook up with a pair of Russian sailors only to wonder if they might be better off behind the Iron Curtain.

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Burning an IllusionBurning an Illusion

Drama1982102 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.

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NakedNaked

Drama1993131 minsDirector: Mike Leigh

David Thewlis stuns as the motormouth predator of Mike Leigh's divisive masterpiece.

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Fish TankFish Tank

Drama2009118 minsDirector: Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold's BAFTA winner and coming-of-age story starring newcomer Katie Jarvis as disaffected teen Mia and Michael Fassbender in one of his earliest film roles.

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PressurePressure

Drama1978121 minsDirector: Horace Ové

Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted black youths in 1970s London; now available in its new restoration.

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Under the SkinUnder the Skin

Melodrama199783 minsDirector: Carine Adler

Carine Adler’s sexy and dark debut, starring Samantha Morton in her first major feature film role.

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Kelly + VictorKelly + Victor

Drama201390 minsDirector: Kieran Evans

In modern Liverpool, a couple meet and begin a transgressive, sexually charged affair set against a background of crime and encroaching danger.

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ChildrenChildren

Drama197646 minsDirector: Terence Davies

The first part of Terence Davies' formidable Trilogy explores the effects of violence on a Liverpool schoolboy, told in a series of flashbacks.

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Death and TransfigurationDeath and Transfiguration

Drama198326 minsDirector: Terence Davies

The Terence Davies Trilogy reaches its astonishing climax as tortured Liverpool clerk Robert Tucker prepares to meet his maker.

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Madonna and ChildMadonna and Child

Drama198028 minsDirector: Terence Davies

Autobiography as art: the centrepiece of Terence Davies' devastating Liverpool-set Trilogy focuses on his fictional alter-ego in middle age.

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TheoremTheorem

Drama196898 minsDirector: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pasolini’s classic about a handsome, enigmatic stranger (Terence Stamp) who arrives at a bourgeois household and seduces an entire family.

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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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FaceFace

Crime1997101 minsDirector: Antonia Bird

Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone are members of a criminal gang that tears itself apart after a heist goes wrong, in Antonia Bird’s stylish thriller.

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