This Palme d’or-winner, about the hardships faced by peasants in late 19th-century Lombardy, is a masterpiece of neorealism. Ermanno Olmi’s film chronicles a year in the everyday struggles of several families living on the farmstead of an aloof, exploitative landlord. To make ends meet, the farmers feel the need to compete against each other even as they partake together in working the cornfields, slaughtering animals, sharing stories, marking births and weddings, and attending mass.
Making superb use of its non-professional cast, Olmi’s vast, meticulously detailed fresco is a magisterial, unusually convincing recreation of a feudal rural world barely touched by modernity or political progress, where the only succour derives from human charity or the Church. Deeply engrossing, compassionate and quietly moving.
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.
Drama 1982 181 mins Director: Ingmar Bergman
Bergman’s magisterial and sumptuous portrait of a 20th-century Swedish family.
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.
Drama 2008 96 mins Director: Bernard Rose
Bernard Rose updates Tolstoy's tale about the corrupting power of sex and jealousy, with Danny Huston as the wealthy husband of a beautiful, famous pianist (Elisabeth Röhm).
Documentary 2018 73 mins Director: Sean McAllister
Acclaimed filmmaker Sean McAllister (A Syrian Love Story) returns to his hometown of Hull to profile local resident Steve Arnott, a struggling warehouse worker who harbours his own creative dream of breaking into hip-hop.
Drama 1961 122 mins Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece stars Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau as a couple re-examining their emotional bonds.
Comedy 1932 72 mins Director: James Whale
A group of weary travellers arrive at a spooky mansion with a madman on the loose, in this classic horror-comedy from James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein)
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2019 83 mins Director: Andrew Kötting
On their latest jaunt, Iain Sinclair and Andrew Kötting set out to return a whalebone box to its place of origin in the Outer Hebrides.
Horror 2019 17 mins Director: Mark Jenkin
A haunting with words is the lure between life and death for a young Cornish poet.
Drama 2015 44 mins Director: Mark Jenkin
A young man strives to provide a home for his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child, in Mark Jenkin's mid-length precursor to Bait.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2016 36 mins Director: Mark Jenkin
Transcending a portrait of place, the quiet, eternal rhythms of the small fishing cove Penberth are caught, landed and served up in this stark and gentle handcrafted celluloid poem from Mark Jenkin (Bait).
Drama 2019 89 mins Director: Olivier Ducastel
Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau (directors of Théo and Hugo), serve up a deliciously enigmatic chamber piece.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2018 17 mins Director: Mark Jenkin
Mark Jenkin (Bait) undertakes a stream-of-consciousness road trip through London in the turblent wake of David Bowie's death.