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The original Godzilla is arguably the definitive monster movie - both a bold metaphor for the atomic age and a thrilling powerhouse of pioneering special effects. Directed by Ishiro Honda and starring Takashi Shimura as the revered palaeontologist who uncovers the horrible secret at the heart of the monster, a long dormant Jurassic beast awoken by the atom bomb. Don’t miss the film that instilled Japan – and the world – with an unquenchable appetite for destruction.
Made in 1954, Godzilla (Gojira) was Japan’s first foray into big budget sci-fi - costing ten times the budget of the average Japanese feature and twice as much as Seven Samurai – released the same year. The film created a monster that would enter the lexicon of popular culture, spawn fifty years of sequels and inspire a new genre: the kaiju eiga, or Japanese monster movie. Upon its release the film was cut, dubbed into English and retitled for American audiences, but it’s presented here in all its restored, original glory. Now regarded as a classic, Godzilla is still regularly cited as among the top twenty Japanese films of all time.
Comedy 1968 96 mins Director: Juraj Herz
This story of a professional cremator whose increasingly deranged impulses are given free reign during Prague's Nazi occupation, is a brilliantly chilling mix of Dr Strangelove and Repulsion.
Horror 2002 101 mins Director: Hideo Nakata
A single mother desperately tries to shield her daughter from hidden terrors in her apartment block, in Hideo Nakata's chilling masterpiece.
Period drama 1964 102 mins Director: Kaneto Shindo
Stylish, symbolic and erotically charged Japanese horror in which the fortunes of a murderous mother-and-daughter team are upended by a strangely masked samurai.
Horror 1932 73 mins Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
The first sound-film by one of the greatest of all filmmakers, Carl Theodor Dreyer, is akin to a waking-dream; guiding the viewer on a trance-like journey between reality and the supernatural.
The Ninth Configuration
Horror 1979 118 mins Director: William Peter Blatty
From the writer of The Exorcist, one of the ultimate cult film experiences: William Peter Blatty's unclassifiable blend of unhinged psychological thriller and anarchic comedy.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne
Horror 1981 91 mins Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Udo Kier stars in Walerian Borowczyk's delirious erotic fever dream, which re-imagines Robert Louis Stephenson's moral tale as a deranged domestic sex farce.
Drama 1986 185 mins Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Jean-Jacques Beineix’s story of a volatile, highly sexual relationship was one of the most successful French films of the 1980s.
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Period drama 1925 91 mins Silent Director: Rupert Julian
'Man of a thousand faces' Lon Chaney stars in the first version of Gaston Leroux's oft-filmed novel.
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Drama 1974 194 mins Director: Jacques Rivette
Jacques Rivette's exhilarating combination of theatricality, paranoia and 'la vie Parisienne' follows two young women as they enter a mysterious realm upon eating a magic sweet.
The Ipcress File
Crime 1965 108 mins Director: Sidney J. Furie
The coolest spy of all – Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer – makes his brilliant big screen debut in this landmark British spy thriller.
A Matter of Life and Death
Fantasy 1946 104 mins Director: Michael Powell
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s timeless romantic fantasy, with David Niven as an airman trapped between life and death.
Drama 2009 102 mins Director: Bruno Dumont
A Catholic nun falls in with some young Arabs and embraces fundamentalist Islam in Bruno Dumont’s provocative film.
Featuring Takashi Shimura
Horror 1964 183 mins Director: Masaki Kobayashi
This stunningly beautiful anthology of Japanese ghost stories is one of the most meticulously crafted supernatural films ever made.
Crime 1950 88 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Credited with bringing Japanese cinema to worldwide audiences, Akira Kurosawa’s breakthrough tells the story of a murder in the woods from four differing perspectives.
Throne of Blood
Drama 1957 110 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
A master of period-drama, Kurosawa (Rashomon, Seven Samurai) recasts Macbeth as a Japanese warlord in one of the greatest Shakespearean adaptations.
Drama 1954 207 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Farmers hire a band of samurai to defend them against marauding bandits in Kurosawa’s influential epic, a touchstone for action movies ever since.
Drama 1952 143 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Takashi Shimura is superb as a bureaucrat diagnosed with cancer in Akira Kurosawa’s lyrical and moving film about how we find meaning in our lives.
Film noir 1948 98 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Part gangster film, part melodrama and part social critique, Akira Kurosawa's first critical success follows the troubled friendship between a disillusioned doctor and a young yakuza.
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Science Fiction 1957 85 mins Director: Ishiro Honda
The team behind Godzilla (1954) reunites for Toho’s first colour widescreen sci-fi, an arresting spectacle about the arrival of an alien race and their giant, destructive robot.
Comedy 2008 237 mins Director: Sion Sono
Japanese cinema's enfant terrible, Sion Sono, unleashes this demented, whirlwind tale of cults, love, violence and perversion.
Comedy 1926 79 mins Silent Director: Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton's masterpiece is widely and rightly regarded as one of the greatest comedies ever made.
Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Comedy 1928 71 mins Director: Charles F. Riesner
Waterway hi jinks abound in this Buster Keaton classic, in which he plays the reluctant heir to his father's paddle steamer business.
Comedy 1924 45 mins Director: Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton's superb, sophisticated silent comedy in which he dreams himself into the movie he's watching, in order to win back his girl.
A Gentle Creature
Drama 2017 143 mins Director: Sergei Loznitsa
A quietly determined woman undertakes a quest of Kafkaesque proportions as she tries to uncover the fate of her imprisoned husband, in this riveting, blackly comic masterpiece from Sergei Loznitsa (In the Fog).
Drama 1963 138 mins Director: Federico Fellini
Fellini triumphantly conjured himself out of writer's block with this magnum opus about a film director experiencing his own creative crisis.