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Julio Medem writes and directs this sensual, two-hander drama charting a one night stand that develops into something deeper. Elena Anaya and Natasha Yarovenko star as Alba (who is Spanish) and Natasha (who is Russian), two lesbian women who meet in Rome and decide to spend the night together in a hotel room. However, their night of fun and sex gradually turns into something more meaningful as both women realise as the hours pass that they are falling in love, something neither had expected.
Mama and Papa have created a surreal self-styled utopia for their three children within their secluded compound walls. Completely shut off from the outside world, the now adult children have grown up with their own language, and believe that cats are man-eating predators, aeroplanes flying overhead are toys and small yellow flowers are zombies.
The family's domestic harmony is irrevocably disturbed when their father invites his colleague Christina to service the sexual urges of the son.
Before long, the son and the two daughters are conducting a series of bizarre experiments with sex and violence, and their superficially constructed world of childhood innocence and fantasy threatens to come crashing down around them.
(Nominated for an Academy Award nomination, for Best Foreign Language Film)
Dramatic, pseudo-documentary reconstruction of the rise of the nationalist movement in Algiers between 1954 and 1957, the crushing defeat it faced at the hands of the French, and its resurgence three years later. Highly influential both in terms of style and content, and originally banned in France for fear of its potential to incite civil unrest, Gillo Pontecorvo's film was one of the benchmarks of 1960s political radicalism.
Every day, Dammiel listens to the thoughts of mortals who play their lives out on the streets of West Berlin. He finds himself entranced by a trapeze artist whose eloquent expression of her doubts and fears make him yearn for a life where he can feel happiness and love.
The afterlife in Wings Of Desire is a world in monochrome. Only the living can see in full colour and it is their lives, with their moments of sorrow and joy, that Wim Wenders captures so eloquently in this singularly original film.
In German with English subtitles.
From visionary director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy and Stoker) comes The Handmaiden, a sumptuous and exhilarating period thriller inspired by Sarah Waters’ best-selling novel Fingersmith.
Set during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1930s, a young handmaiden named Sookee is hired by Lady Hideko, a reclusive heiress who lives in a sprawling mansion under the watchful eye of her domineering Uncle Kouzuki. But Sookee harbours a secret: she has been recruited by Fujiwara, a scheming con artist posing as a Japanese Count, to trick Hideko into entrusting him with her fortune. However, when Sookee and Hideko begin to develop unexpected emotions for each other, they start putting together a plan of their own.
With breathtaking visuals, grandiose set design and frenzied humour, The Handmaiden is one of the year’s most anticipated films - an opulent and labyrinthine tale of deception, romance and triple-crossing that marks a career high for one of modern cinema’s most thrilling auteurs.
(Incudes both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film)
A handsome, enigmatic stranger arrives at a bourgeois household in Milan and successively seduces each family member, not forgetting the maid. Then, as abruptly and mysteriously as he arrived, he departs, leaving the members of the household to make what sense they can of their lives in the void of his absence.
In this cool, richly complex and provocative political allegory, director Pasolini uses his schematic plot to explore family dynamics, the intersection of class and sex, and the nature of different sexualities. After winning a prize at the Venice Film Festival, Theorem was subsequently banned on an obscenity charge, but Pasolini later won an acquittal on the grounds of the films 'high artistic value'.
Theorem is visually ravishing, with superb performances from its international cast and a brilliantly eclectic soundtrack featuring music by composers ranging from Mozart and Morricone.
Writer/director Gabriel Axel's Oscar-winning film is set in 19th-century Denmark. Babette (Stéphane Audran), a chef and refugee from France's civil war, finds herself in a remote Danish hamlet working for two sisters who preside over its inhabitants. The sisters were brought up under the strict regime of their devout father who preached salvation through self-denial and have kept his teachings going even after his death. But Babette's arrival is set to change the status quo when she cooks a sumptuous meal for the sisters and their friends.
Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale star in this French drama set in the remote Algerian monastery of Tibhirine. For years, the monks have coexisted in harmony with the Muslim locals. But as the political situation in Algeria becomes increasingly unstable and terrorism takes hold in the 1990s, the monks face the agonising decision of whether to stay or go back to France.
The urgency of their situation is brutally brought home to them when a group of Croatian volunteers at the monastery are murdered by Islamic guerilla fighters.
In French and Arabic with English subtitles.
Asghar Farhadi writes and directs this Persian drama starring Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti.
Iranian couple Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Alidoosti) are performing together in a production of Arthur Miller's play 'Death of a Salesman' when they are forced to leave their crumbling, unsafe home in Tehran. They think they've gotten lucky when they find a new apartment nearby, unaware that the previous occupant worked as a prostitute. When Emad returns home one night to find Rana has been attacked in their new home by one of the previous occupant's clients, the violent incident causes cracks to appear in the couple's previously stable and happy marriage. Rana, shaken and afraid, pleads with Emad to go to the police but he would rather find the attacker himself and have his revenge.
The film won the Academy Award in 2017 for Best Foreign Language Film.
Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, a young woman assisted by her husband, who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.
Directed by The Dardenne Brothers, who are the most celebrated and decorated filmmaking partners in the world, boasting five Cannes wins and countless other international awards.
Two Days, One Night was in competition for the Palme d'Or at this years Cannes Film Festival.
(2015 Oscar nomination for: Best Lead Actress)
Jacques Audiard directs this multiple award-winning French relationship drama detailing the bond that develops between two people, both profoundly damaged in different ways.
The film starts by telling two parallel stories: one of Ali, a homeless father struggling to care for his five-year-old son, and the other of Stephanie, a woman who loses her legs in an accident while working as a trainer of killer whales.
Both strong, idiosyncratic characters who are used to defining the parameters of their personal relationships, their union forces them out of the emotional safety zones they have each developed for the purposes of self-protection.
Three films by acclaimed Austrian director Michael Haneke, known as his 'Glaciation' trilogy. 'The Seventh Continent' (1989) portrays three years in the life of Georg (Dieter Berner), his wife Anna (Birgit Doll) and their daughter Eva (Leni Tanzer), during which time a psychological blindness leads to the family's self-destruction. The film explores familiar Haneke themes: the bourgeouis family unit, professional success and the price of conformism. In 'Benny's Video' (1992), 14-year-old Benny (Arno Frish) immerses himself in the universe of violent movies to fill the void of his middle-class existence. When he invites a girl back to his home, events take a fatal turn as he re-enacts the focus of his video obsession: the shooting of a pig. The final film in the trilogy, '71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance' (1994), is a mosaic of 71 film tableaux portraying a number of people and events - otherwise unconnected - in the lead-up to a shooting spree undertaken by an Austrian student at Christmas in 2003.
Through A Glass Darkly
All three feature films in black & white and in Swedish with English subtitles.
A devout 18-year-old Israeli is pressured to marry the husband of her late sister.
Declaring her independence is not an option in Tel Aviv's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, where religious law, tradition and the rabbi's word are absolute.
Whilst on holiday with her family, seventeen year old Isabelle experiences her first intimate relationship with an attractive young man named Felix. A few days later, and for no apparent reason, Isabelle casts him aside and cuts off all contact with him, behaving as if their encounter never happened.
When she returns home to Paris, Isabelle begins a dangerous new career; she sets up a profile on an escort website and lies about her age in order to make appointments with older, wealthy clients in chic, expensive hotel rooms. On the one hand she is a cool professional, catering to the whims of the various men she encounters; on the other she is maintaining the illusion of being a regular school student for her parents and friends.
Her double life spirals out of control, however, when the unthinkable happens with one of her regular clients and she is forced to deal with the consequences of what she has been doing.
The stand out film of the 2011 Berlin Film Festival and winner of the Golden Bear, as well as the Academy Award, A Separation is a suspenseful and intelligent drama detailing the fractures and tensions at the heart of Iranian society.
Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the film boasts a range of superb performances from the ensemble cast who collectively received the Silver Bears for both Best Actor and Best Actress at the Berlinale. The compelling narrative is driven by a taut and finely written script rooted in the particular of Iranian society but which transcends its setting to create a stunning morality play with universal resonance.
When his wife leaves him, Nader hires a young woman to take care of his suffering father. But he doesn’t know his new maid is not only pregnant, but also working without her unstable husband's permission. Soon, Nader finds himself entangled in a web of lies manipulation and public confrontations.
In Iranian language with English subtitles.
(Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film)
Eric Rohmer's reputation was established with his ambitious Moral Tales series of films, each based around a common theme - in his words: 'a man meeting a woman at the very moment when he is about to commit himself to someone else'.
The Girl At The Monceau Bakery (1962)
In French with English subtitles.
Paris, Je T'aime tells stories of love from the City of Love. Eighteen renowned filmmakers have created their own vignette based in different areas of Paris to form a collection of short films which will embrace you to fall in love with the world's most romantic city.
Eighteen short films made by an assortment of international directors including Alfonso Cuaron, The Coen Brothers, Wes Craven, Alexander Payne and Gus Van Sant bring their individual vision to a collective love letter to the French capital.
Starring in the films includes a collection of some of the finest actors and actresses with Natalie Portman, Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Bob Hoskins, Elijah Wood and Maggie Gyllenhaal all appearing.
The story of a man diagnosed with stomach cancer, Kurosawa's film is a serious contemplation of the nature of existence and the question of how we find meaning in our lives.
Opening with a shot of an x-ray, showing the main character's stomach, Ikiru tells the tale of a dedicated, downtrodden civil servant who, diagnosed with a fatal cancer, learns to change his dull, unfulfilled existence, and suddenly discovers a zest for life.
Plunging first into self-pity, then a bout of hedonistic pleasure-seeking on the frenetic streets of post-war Tokyo, Watanabe - the film's hero - finally finds satisfaction through building a children's playground.
Beautifully played by Takashi Shimura (who starred in 21 of Kurosawa's films), Ikiru is an intensely lyrical and moving film, and was one of Kurosawa's own favourites.
In black & white.
Jean-Luc Godard's homage to Hollywood pulp fiction movies of the 1940s which also gave its name in the 1990s to Quentin Tarantino's production company. Franz (Sami Frey) and Arthur (Claude Brasseur), a couple of Parisian streetwise kids team up with the shy Odile (Anna Karina) to plan a robbery. The trio's over-developed fantasies come together whilst visiting the Louvre, cafes and even play-acting shoot-outs and it soon becomes apparent that the robbery is definitely not going to go according to plan.
Amelie Poulain has led a sheltered life - educated at home by over-protective parents, she retreats into a fantasy world of her own.
When she finally leaves home and finds work as a waitress in a Parisian cafe, life is pretty uneventful until a chain of extraordinary events leads her to the discovery of a tin box containing a schoolboy's long forgotten mementos.
It is then that Amelie discovers her true vocation in life - helping others find love and happiness - which she sets about in her own unique and magical way. But when Amelie falls in love herself, she realizes that making neat solutions is not as easy as it seems...
In French with English subtitles.
A village in Protestant northern Germany. 1913-1914. On the eve of World War I.
The story of the children and teenagers of a choir run by the village schoolteacher, and their families: the baron, the steward, the pastor, the doctor, the midwife, the tenant farmers.
Strange accidents occur and gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual.
Who is behind it all?
The schoolteacher observes, investigates and little by little discovers the incredible truth. Are we being asked to consider whether these events heralded something that would explode years later with the rise of Nazi Germany? Did these events contain the germs of the tragedies that followed?
Acclaimed auteur Michael Haneke returns to his classic themes of guilt, denial and violence in this haunting and provocative feature which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
In black & white, and in German with English subtitles.
The funny, smart and vibrant portrait of a modern American family.
Nic and Jules are your average suburban couple raising their two teens, Joni and Laser, in Southern California. But when the kids secretly track down their “donor dad,” Paul, an unexpected new chapter begins for everyone as family ties are defined, re-defined and then re-re-defined.
Fall in love with the big-hearted comedy that critics are raving about.
(Nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay)
A married couple move back to the husband's childhood village to start a family, but a surprise visit from his brother ignites sibling rivalry and exposes the lies embedded in the couple's relationship.
Wreckers is an evocative, beautifully shot debut from director D R Hood that examines the fragile relationship between truth, intimacy and betrayal.
The year is 1926. In the Landes region, free-spirited Thérèse Larroque, the daughter of a wealthy pinery owner and radical-socialist politician, marries Bernard Desqueyroux, another pinery owner. Although she does it half-heartedly, she thinks that marriage may help her to 'sort out all the ideas in her mind'.
But her disappointment is great. Her wedding night is all but fascinating and when she becomes pregnant she realizes the baby matters more to Bernard than herself.
Thérèse stifles in her husband's beautiful residence among stiff in-laws who do not think high of her, her avant-garde ideas clash with local conventions and her domineering husband, and in order to break free from the fate imposed upon her she will resort to tragically extreme measures.
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