World Cinema Classics

Discover classics from world cinema that made their mark in Britain and beyond.

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  • Water Drops on Burning Rocks

    Fassbinder wrote the script for his first full-length play when he was 19, the same age as Franz (Malik Zidi) when he is picked up by the worldly Léopold (Bernard Giraudeau), and seduced into a relationship that soon sours. As Franz’s naïve fiancée Anna and Léo’s former lover Véra turn up at thei...

  • 5x2

    Five milestone scenes from a couple’s life – from that giddy first meeting through to marriage, birth, infidelity and annulment – are painfully played out in reverse chronological order in François Ozon’s keen examination of the theatrical nature of relationships. With the benefit of hindsight, t...

  • Ran

    Akira Kurosawa’s visually spectacular epic transplants Shakespeare’s King Lear from Celtic Britain to feudal Japan. In its epic scope and expert execution, Ran can be seen as a culmination of the great Japanese director’s filmmaking career; a late triumph which he planned and refined over several...

  • Show Me Love

    Elin is beautiful, brash and popular, but desperate for excitement. Agnes is friendless and depressed, and secretly in love with Elin. Despite a few – truly lame – parties, their achingly-boring, provincial hometown crushes both their spirits, and we root for romance to blossom. Show Me Love is a...

  • Le Mépris

    Based on Moravia’s novel, Jean-Luc Godard’s sardonic look at the world of filmmaking boasts superb performances by Michel Piccoli as a compromised writer, Brigitte Bardot as his bored wife, Jack Palance as a manipulative producer and Fritz Lang as himself, about to film Homer’s Odyssey in Cinecit...

  • Max mon amour

    When British diplomat Peter Jones (Anthony Higgins) suspects his wife (Charlotte Rampling, playing it totally straight) of infidelity, he is stunned to discover that the ‘other man’ is a chimpanzee. On a whim, he invites his hairy rival to move into the luxurious family home – more out of curiosi...

  • A Hole In My Heart

    Close your eyes and tell me what you see.' begins the new feature from Lukas Moodysson, who opened our eyes to the disturbing face of the new Europe in Lilya 4-ever. Pushing the boundaries still further, A Hole in My Heart is transgressive, sometimes opaque and deliberately fragmented, sometimes ...

  • My Father, the Hero

    Eager to reconnect with his teenage daughter, André (Depardieu) takes her on holiday to the tropics. But when a local boy catches her eye, Véronique attempts to pass off her father as her lover in a misguided effort to impress. André gamely cooperates in the charade, but the lies – and gossip – s...

  • Merci la vie

    When naïve teenager Camille (Charlotte Gainsbourg in one of her earliest roles) comes across Joëlle (Anouk Grinberg), a young woman who has just been unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, the two soon form a fast friendship. Guiding her new friend through the darker side of sex and men, Joëlle...

  • Sitcom

    When the father of a stereotypical middle-class French family brings home a pet rat, he triggers a surge of orgies, incest and murder within his prim and polished suburban home. François Ozon (Swimming Pool) displays hints of Luis Buñuel and John Waters in his anarchic takedown of the middle-clas...

  • Lilya-4-Ever

    Lilya is 16, and lives in a dismal suburb in a nameless town somewhere in the former Soviet Union. Abandoned by her mother, and bullied by a wicked aunt, her only comfort comes from Volodya, a good-hearted younger boy who she befriends. Hope arrives when Lilya meets and falls in love with Andrei,...

  • Toto the Hero

    Thomas is obsessed with the idea he was swapped at birth with his neighbour Alfred during a hospital fire. Believing the wealthy and privileged Alfred has lived the life he should have had Thomas is heart broken by the loss of his sister and plots his revenge, imagining himself to be the secret a...

  • The Ballad of Narayama

    Throughout the 1980s, Shohei Imamura (The Pornographers, Profound Desires of the Gods), a leading figure of the Japanese New Wave era of the 1960s, cemented his international reputation as one of the most important directors of his generation with a series of films that all competed at Cannes to ...

  • Madame Bovary

    Claude Chabrol's elegant adaptation of Flaubert's classic, with Isabelle Huppert in superb form as his tragic heroine, Emma.

  • Merci Pour Le Chocolat (aka Nightcap)

    Isabelle Huppert stars as the wife of a concert pianist who discovers some unusual secrets about her husband's past, in Claude Chabrol's deliciously icy mystery.

  • L'enfer (aka Torment)

    A husband's jealousy and suspicion of his wife drive him to appalling extremes in Claude Charbrol’s unsettling psychological thriller.

  • Vampyres

    Attempting to satisfy their insatiable lust for blood, two beautiful bisexual vampires roam the English countryside, luring motorists back to their stately pile, to enjoy fine wine, and engage in unspeakably bloody sex acts. Meanwhile, unwitting holidaymakers nearby twitch their caravan curtains....

  • Pili

    Pili lives in rural Tanzania, working in the fields for less than $1 a day to feed her two children and struggling to manage her HIV-positive status in secret. When she is offered the chance to rent a sought-after market-stall, Pili is desperate to have it. But with only two days to get the depos...

  • Lovers of the Arctic Circle

    Young schoolchildren, Otto (Fele Martínez) and Ana (Najwa Nimri) become infatuated with each other, and when Otto's parents separate, his father Álvaro and Ana's mother Olga become lovers. When Otto and Ana become teenagers they begin a passionate and secret love affair, and remain intwined in th...

  • The Port of Shadows

    In the shadowy port of Le Havre, Jean (Jean Gabin), an army deserter on the run, takes shelter in Panama’s bar, an isolated shack on the water’s edge. In this hideout of drifters and down-and-outs, Jean encounters world-weary artist Michel Krauss (Robert Le Vigan) who discourses on life, suicide ...

  • Holy Motors

    Traveling the Parisian streets by limousine, Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) is kept to a strict schedule of appointments by his driver (Edith Scob). Altering his physical appearance and identity as easily as another man might change his socks, Oscar makes contact with strangers, family members, bu...

  • Stroszek

    Werner Herzog's second film with lead actor Bruno S. (following The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser) was written specifically as a vehicle for the unusual performers rough-edged naivety. Having reneged on a promise to cast Bruno in the film Woyzeck (for which he was replaced by Klaus Kinski), Herzog wrot...

  • Fitzcarraldo

    One of Werner Herzog's most acclaimed and audacious films, Fitzcarraldo tells the incredible story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (played by Herzog regular Klaus Kinski), an opera-loving fortune hunter who dreams of bringing opera (specifically Caruso) to a remote trading post on the heart of the Pe...

  • Werner Herzog: Radical Dreamer

    In this compelling new film, Werner Herzog’s extraordinary life and work are brought into focus through clips from his finest films and interviews with those who know him best. This fascinating and insightful documentary explores the career of the auteur director, writer and poet, whose adventu...