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In a Japan ravaged by civil war, weary samurai are being ambushed and murdered by a ruthless mother (Nobuko Otowa) and daughter-in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) team. The women throw the samurai bodies into a pit, and barter their armour and weapons for food. While the daughter begins an affair with a neighbour (Kei Satô), the older woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre face-mask; two encounters which will alter their destinies.
Erotically charged and steeped in the symbolism and superstition of its Buddhist and Shintô roots, Kaneto Shindô’s Onibaba is in part a modern parable on consumerism, a study of the destructiveness of sexual desire and — filmed amid a claustrophobic sea of grass — one of the most striking and unique Japanese films of the 20th century.
Period drama 1963 114 mins Director: Kon Ichikawa
Kon Ichikawa's wildly melodramatic tale of a kabuki female impersonator who exacts a long-delayed revenge.
Period drama 1975 107 mins Director: Peter Weir
The film that established Peter Weir as a major filmmaker remains one of the most chillingly atmospheric and beautifully enigmatic films ever made.
Period drama 1971 94 mins Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Borowczyk's visually stunning historical drama, which presents the story of a young woman's hypnotic beauty in the style of a moving medieval fresco.
Science Fiction 1988 91 mins Director: Vincent Ward
A group of medieval English villagers find themselves transported to '80s New Zealand, in Vincent Ward's startling fusion of period fantasy and time-travel science fiction.
Period drama 1976 130 mins Director: Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti's final film is a brilliant and disturbing drama set against the opulent backdrop of decadent, late 19th-century aristocracy.
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.
Horror 1977 101 mins Director: Dario Argento
Dario Argento’s phantasmagoric gothic nightmare blends operatic violence, disorienting dream logic and hyper-real visuals to create a horror classic.
Horror 1979 92 mins Director: David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg’s highly disturbing horror about a woman who’s able to externalise her inner torment and manifest it into a brood of killer offspring.
Horror 1980 103 mins Director: David Cronenberg
From singularly talented Canadian director David Cronenberg comes this sci-fi/horror classic about people with powerfully violent telepathic powers.
Comedy 2014 86 mins Director: Taika Waititi
An achingly funny mockumentary about New Zealand’s hitherto unknown vampire (and werewolf) communities, from the creators of Flight of the Conchords.
Fantasy 2010 83 mins Director: Jalmari Helander
Part children's adventure, part macabre seasonal shocker, this darkly humorous concoction defies categorisation.
Horror 1989 99 mins Director: Brian Yuzna
A teenager uncovers an elite ritualistic society in Brian Yuzna's stomach-churning mix of body-horror and social commentary.
Drama 2019 88 mins Director: Fyzal Boulifa
A lifelong friendship is tested by tragedy in this atmospheric and intense first feature from acclaimed British shorts director Fyzal Boulifa.
Crime 1972 87 mins Director: Shunya Ito
The iconic Meiko Kaji's career-defining turn as 'Scorpion', an unjustly imprisoned young woman who must escape to exact revenge upon the man who betrayed her.
Drama 1971 74 mins Director: Masao Adachi
A jaded young woman embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery in this radical pink film from experimental film artist, agent provocateur and underground political soldier, Masao Adachi.
Crime 1967 86 mins Director: Atsushi Yamatoya
A hitman is engaged to track down a kidnapped girl, in this hallucinatory and surreal mix of erotica and yakuza violence from the writer of Branded to Kill.
Comedy 2015 105 mins Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Athina Rachel Tsangari's biting and hilarious dissection of the male ego was awarded Best Film at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival.
Horror 1977 88 mins Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi
An unforgettable mixture of bubblegum teen melodrama and grisly phantasmagoria, Obayashi’s deranged fairy tale House is one of Japanese cinema’s wildest supernatural ventures and a truly startling debut feature.