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Carl Dreyer's deeply moving biopic features one of the most desperate, brilliant performances ever captured in cinema’s history. Actress Renée Falconetti, as the 19 year old Joan condemned to death, was brutally forced by Dreyer to kneel on stone to show the pain on her face. Few ﬁlms since have used close-ups as intensely and overwhelmingly.
The Passion of Joan of Arc remains an unassailable giant of early cinema, a transcendental film comprising tears, fire and madness that relies on extreme close-ups of the human face. Renée Falconetti was 35 when she played the role of Joan (a teenager when condemned to death in 1431). Dreyer brutally extracted a desperate, brilliant performance from the actress, forcing her to kneel on stone to show the pain on her face and insisting that they shot in silence. In the 2012 Sight and Sound poll, Joan had risen to no. 9. But in 2010 it was designated the most influential film of all time in the Toronto International Film Festival’s ‘Essential 100’ list, where Jonathan Rosenbaum described it as “the pinnacle of silent cinema – and perhaps of the cinema itself”.
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Biopic 1988 81 mins Director: 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.
Nature of the Beast
Biopic 2017 96 mins Director: Daniel Draper
A suitably forthright profile of the evergreen socialist, trade unionist and Labour politician Dennis Skinner - also known as the Beast of Bolsover.
Letters from Baghdad
Documentary 2016 91 mins Director: Sabine Krayenbühl
Tilda Swinton narrates the extraordinary journey of Gertrude Bell, a singular woman who played a significant – often unrecognised – role in British imperial policy making in Iraq.
Nick's Film (Lightning Over Water)
Biopic 1980 90 mins Director: Nicholas Ray
Simultaneously a love letter and a farewell, this documentary charts the last few months of acclaimed director Nicholas Ray through the eyes of Wim Wenders.
Historical drama 2017 90 mins Director: Niles Atallah
Niles Atallah's wild, inspired history of French adventurer Orélie-Antoine de Tounens, told via puppetry, stop-motion and degraded film stock.
Because That Road Is Trodden
Biopic 1969 23 mins Director: Tim King
A dreamlike fantasy examining the day-to-day life of a sixteen-year-old schoolboy which was shot at Bryanston School, an independent school.
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.
Drama 2007 96 mins Director: 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).
Comedy 1945 96 mins Director: David Lean
A séance results in a man’s first wife returning from the dead in Noël Coward’s wonderful comedy.
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.
Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer
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.
Day of Wrath
Period drama 1943 97 mins Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
Dark and powerful tale of love and betrayal, and a community gripped by an obsessive fear of witchcraft.
The Master of the House
Drama 1925 107 mins Silent Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s richly detailed tragicomedy of domestic manners is by turns funny, intensely emotional and deeply affecting.
Drama 1964 116 mins Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s final masterpiece centres on a woman who rejects the compromise of her marriage and retreats into a serene isolation.
Drama 1955 125 mins Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s beautifully photographed tale explores the religious intolerance and familial tensions within a Danish farming family.
They Caught the Ferry
Documentary 1948 12 mins Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
An unusual - but no less startling – entry in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s filmography, They Caught the Ferry is a fast-paced and effective road-safety film.
The Tell-Tale Heart
Drama 1953 21 mins Director: J.B. Williams
Stanley Baker enacts the classic Edgar Allan Poe story in this chilling short film, only recently rediscovered after being lost for 50 years.
The Woodsman and the Rain
Comedy 2011 128 mins Director: Shûichi Okita
A redneck lumberjack is recruited to work on a rookie producer's inane zombie movie, in this hilarious movie-making satire.
Comedy 2012 93 mins Director: Pang Ho-Cheung
Ho-Cheung Pang's wild, ribald comedy about a Hong Kong movie producer who will do anything to get his projects off the ground.
Who Loves the Sun
Comedy 2006 94 mins Director: Matt Bissonnette
Lukas Haas and Adam Scott play two old friends with a tempestuous history in this delightfully witty character comedy.
Comedy 2010 91 mins Director: Benoît Delépine
Legendary actor Gérard Depardieu is at his most uninhibited as an abattoir worker who hits the road with wild abandon.
Comedy 2011 109 mins Director: Yuya Ishii
An eccentric, pregnant young lady returns to her hometown to help her downtrodden old neighbours, in Yûya Ishii 's strange, whimsical comedy.