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 2016 114 mins Director: François Ozon
The ever-prolific François Ozon directs this richly-evocative period piece, set in the aftermath of World War I.
Fantasy 1957 96 mins Director: Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s best-known film is a brilliant allegorical drama starring Max von Sydow as a knight trying to elude his own death.
Period drama 2016 146 mins Director: Park Chan-wook
Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Stoker) channels Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, to create a sumptuous twisty psychological thriller full of erotic intrigue.
Comedy 1955 109 mins Director: Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s Cannes prize-winning comedy assembles various couples in a country house in 1900.
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.
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.
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)
Drama 2004 76 mins Director: Jun Ichikawa
Award-winning film adapted from Haruki Murakami’s New Yorker tale of solitude and obsession.
Documentary 2018 101 mins Director: Steve Sullivan
Frank Sidebottom was a pillar of alternative comedy of the late 80s/early 90s, and this charming documentary remembers the man behind the papier-mâché head.
Drama 2017 103 mins Director: Sadaf Foroughi
Sadaf Foroughi's gripping debut about a young girl's coming-of-age in a strict, traditional society.
Drama 2020 84 mins Director: Blerta Basholli
Director Blerta Basholli’s feature debut is a moving story of resilience and hope.
Drama 2020 118 mins Director: Agnieszka Holland
Agnieszka Holland’s fascinating biopic of Jan Mikolášek, a 20th century Czech herbalist whose great success masked the grimmest of secrets.
Police drama 2011 128 mins Director: Maïwenn Le Besco
Brutal, shocking and incredibly powerful, this close-up examination of the workings of a child protection police unit in Paris is hard-hitting and heart-stopping cinema.