Vividly recreating a medieval world tormented by plague and superstition, Ingmar Bergman’s allegorical drama – centred on a knight (von Sydow), returned from the Crusades, who challenges Death to a game of chess in order to postpone his demise – remains fascinating (and finally rather touching) as a study of faith in crisis. Packed with powerful images, it punctuates its bleakness with moments of pleasingly pawky humour.
While the film's famous sequences have been parodied by the likes of French and Saunders and Bill and Ted, The Seventh Seal remains one of the must-see masterworks of world cinema, a Jury Prize winner at Cannes Film Festival upon its release and a mainstay of the Sight and Sound Greatest Films poll ever since.
Comedy 1952 84 mins Director: Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini's film about a photographer who is given the power to rid the Earth of 'evil-doers'.
Fantasy 1992 93 mins Director: Sally Potter
Tilda Swinton stars in Sally Potter's dazzling interpretation of Virginia Woolf's novel.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1961 85 mins Director: Karel Zeman
Karel Zeman’s wildly inventive and comic take on the surreal adventures of the bragging Baron explodes on to the screen in a riot of colour, visual wit and poetic verve.
Horror 2019 89 mins Director: Johannes Nyholm
If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a very nasty surprise…
Comedy 1975 98 mins Director: Walerian Borowczyk
An outrageous classic of erotic cinema, Walerian Borowczyk’s playful and subversive fantasy finds a horny heiress courting the ravenous desires of a wild beast.
Fantasy 2010 83 mins Director: Jalmari Helander
Part children's adventure, part macabre seasonal shocker, this darkly humorous concoction defies categorisation.
Most Popular Films of 2018
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.
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 1984 145 mins Director: Wim Wenders
The late, great Harry Dean Stanton's finest role came as the near-mute Travis, on a journey across America to reunite his family, in Wim Wenders' moving tale of loss and redemption.
Thriller 2010 107 mins Director: Im Sang-soo
An enigmatic housemaid and her wealthy, totalitarian employer begin an affair that will have disastrous consequences for them both.
Drama 1982 95 mins Director: Eric Rohmer
Eric Rohmer's final collaboration with the great cinematographer Nestor Almendros follows a holidaying teenager as she begins to navigate the adult world.
Melodrama 1997 83 mins Director: Carine Adler
Carine Adler’s sexy and dark debut, starring Samantha Morton in her first major feature film role.
Crime 1995 115 mins Director: Robert Altman
Robert Altman revisits the 1930s city of his childhood, vividly recreating its jazz clubs, speakeasies, political corruption and lively crime scene.
Drama 2017 115 mins Director: Lucrecia Martel
Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel returns with a fine adaptation of Antonio Di Benedetto’s existential novel. In her first feature since 2008’s The Headless Woman, Martel creates a richly layered exploration of personal malaise.
Biopic 2018 115 mins Director: Agnès Varda
In her final film, Agnès Varda offers a personal insight into her oeuvre, using excerpts from her work to illustrate her unique artistic visions and ideas.
Drama 2010 103 mins Director: Kelly Reichardt
Kelly Reichardt's absorbing and beautifully composed western, set on the Oregon trail in the 1840s.
Drama 1962 113 mins Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Yasujiro Ozu's elegiac final film charts the inevitable eclipse of older generations by irreverent youth.
Drama 1953 136 mins Director: 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.