"The longest unsponsored advertisement ever to reach cinema screens", reckoned producer Monja Danischewski. Maybe so, but Alexander Mackendrick's debut feature is much more than that. This comic account of a real-life event pitches a priggish English army captain against the remorseless guile of an islandful of thirsty Scots defending a cache of shipwrecked whisky, and helped make ‘Ealing Comedy’ one of British cinema’s most enduring brands. It's a film of boundless mischief, and it marked Mackendrick from the start as the most complex and subtle of Ealing's directors.
The SS Politician, whose real-life shipwreck (while carrying nearly 30,000 cases of finest malt) inspired Compton Bennett's source novel, went down off the coast of Eriskay in the Hebrides. The film itself was shot on Barra - a short but sometimes treacherous boat journey away - with many islanders among the extras.
Drama 2016 99 mins Director: Icíar Bollaín
A spirited young woman embarks on a journey from the East coast of Spain to Germany in order to retrieve an ancient olive tree precious to her ailing grandfather.
Comedy 2005 154 mins Director: Cristi Puiu
Cristi Puiu's multiple award-winning drama about a seriously ill man caught in an absurdist bureaucratic nightmare over the course of one night.
Comedy 2012 100 mins Director: Don Coscarelli
A pair of college dropouts play havoc with the space-time continuum in this outrageous mind-bender from the twisted mind of Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep).
Drama 1967 96 mins Director: Jean-Luc Godard
“The revolution is not a dinner-party.” Jean-Luc Godard's mix of mordant satire, pedagogical treatise, political tract, and pop-artwork.
Comedy 1998 116 mins Director: Vera Chytilová
Věra Chytilová's dark, post-communist comedy. After a veterinary surgeon is sexually assaulted by two men, she uses her particular expertise in castraton to exact her revenge…
Sex comedy 2008 116 mins Director: Anna Biller
Anna Biller's outrageous sexploitation satire follows bored housewife Barbi as she searches for adventure in predatory 1970s Los Angeles.
Comedy 1990 100 mins Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Jeunet and Caro's endlessly inventive and wildly enjoyable post-apocalyptic black comedy, about a sinister butcher and the circus clown who becomes his nemesis.
Drama 2009 93 mins Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Yorgos Lanthimos' scary, witty tale of a dysfunctional Greek family is original, ingenious and sadly relevant as a study of parent-child relationships
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.
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'.
Period drama 2014 92 mins Director: Jessica Hausner
Jessica Hausner’s long-awaited follow-up to Lourdes is a devilish anti-Rom-Com in which German poet seeks mates for a suicide pact.
Comedy 2009 90 mins Director: Alain Guiraudie
A film about tractors, aphrodisiacs and forbidden love from Alain Guiraudie, the Cannes award-winning director of Stranger by the Lake.
Drama 1975 71 mins Director: Miklós Jancsó
Miklós Jancsó's beautifully shot, intricately choreographed reworking of the ancient Greek myth is a searing exposé of oppression and the abuse of power.
Documentary 2018 96 mins Director: Ashley Joiner
Celebratory yet reflective documentary charting the LGBTQ+ movement's momentous journey towards equality.
Horror 2001 119 mins Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kiyoshi Kurosawa's dark and apocalyptic J-Horror foretells how technology serves to isolate us as it grows more important to our lives.
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.
Documentary 2018 76 mins Director: Catherine Lurie
Riding on their steel steeds, eleven bikers expose their family pasts, as they power through eight countries from Tel Aviv to the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympic stadium, in this compelling and cathartic documentary.
Horror 1994 82 mins Director: Abel Ferrara
Lili Taylor and Christopher Walken star in Abel Ferrara's raw, intense and intelligent take on the vampire myth - selected for the Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time Poll by The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw.