Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario, Prisoners, Incendies) versatile and prolific creative streak continues with Arrival, an emotionally arresting, visually inventive science fiction based on the award-winning Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Professor of linguistics Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is enlisted by the US government to decipher the language of extra-terrestrials who initiated first contact. She is accompanied by scientist Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) on a mission to determine the purpose of their mysterious visitation. As the military manoeuvres around the operation become increasingly fraught, the two outsiders are drawn together in their search for understanding in this tense and emotional sci-fi drama.
The story is underpinned by an extremely resonant interest in the importance of translation, not only the direct challenge of decoding this new language, but also in the forging of international cooperation between countries to prevent conflict. A universe away from traditional alien invasion films, Arrival is ultimately a cinematic paean to human life – its intimacy, complexity and grandeur, and to what keeps us connected to each other – communication, memory, and the experience of love and loss.
Science Fiction 1987 72 mins Director: Peter Wollen
Tilda Swinton plays an extra-terrestrial android discussing life’s big questions with a British war correspondent in this unique sci-fi by influential film theorist Peter Wollen.
Science Fiction 2019 102 mins Director: Justin Benson
Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan star as a pair of New Orleans paramedics who encounter a series of bizarre deaths linked to a new designer drug with otherworldly effects.
Thriller 2019 104 mins Director: Brandon Cronenberg
In the near future, a cool and ruthless assassin who uses other people’s bodies to carry out execution-style killings comes unstuck when her latest vehicle resists.
Documentary 2019 92 mins Director: Damon Gameau
Award-winning director Damon Gameau embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like if we embraced the best solutions to improve our planet.
Science Fiction 2019 98 mins Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg play a pair of first-time buyers who get more than they bargained for in this twisted fable about the horrors of suburban living.
Science Fiction 2018 113 mins Director: Claire Denis
The messiness of sex, the mysteries of birth and the moving spectacle of devoted parenting in the face of impending oblivion create a potent atmosphere in Claire Denis’ English-language debut.
Best Films of 2017
Drama 2016 119 mins Director: Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen plays the father-gone-primitive in this wonderful award-winning comedy about an off-grid family.
Drama 2016 100 mins Director: Ken Loach
Ken Loach’s powerful, Palme d’Or-winning invective against welfare injustice captured the mood of modern Britain and became his biggest box office success.
Thriller 2016 112 mins Director: Tate Taylor
Emily Blunt stars in the adaptation of the best-seller about a divorcee who entangles herself in the investigation of a missing young woman.
Comedy 2016 162 mins Director: Maren Ade
A lonely prankster upends the life of his high-powered daughter in a riotous comedy, deep and sharp.
Drama 2016 137 mins Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams shine in this devastating, Oscar-winning drama from Kenneth Lonergan about a man’s painful hometown return.
Drama 2016 87 mins Director: Peter Mackie Burns
Emily Beecham stars in a powerful character study about a 31-year-old chef who's drifting through her London life, until she witnesses a shocking event…
Featuring Jeremy Renner
Drama 2013 117 mins Director: James Gray
Marion Cotillard plays a Polish immigrant struggling to survive in 1920s New York, in this acclaimed drama from James Gray (We Own the Night).
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Crime 2015 121 mins Director: Denis Villeneuve
Emily Blunt plays the FBI agent enlisted for a special operation against Mexican cartels, in this pulsatingly tense thriller from Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners).
Drama 2021 76 mins Director: Darragh Carey
Affluent YouTuber Leah is drawn to shy youth Benji as the subject for her Brixton documentary, but her desire for edgy footage leads them both down a dangerous path.
Comedy 2010 36 mins Director: Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh's sports-infused comedy short starring Eddie Marsan, produced as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Drama 1990 103 mins Director: Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh’s hilarious yet tragic domestic portrait features a dazzling ensemble performance and remains a potent, true-to-life story, and one of the celebrated director’s most admired and affecting films.
Drama 2019 140 mins Director: Karim Aïnouz
A deserving winner of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard prize, this sumptuous tale of two sisters cruelly separated by family and fate makes for deeply moving drama.
Documentary 2021 81 mins Director: Sue Carpenter
An inspirational story of rebellion, courage and hope as Belmaya, a young Dalit woman in Nepal, silenced and subjugated for most of her life, takes up the movie camera to tell her story.
Drama 1965 123 mins Director: John Schlesinger
Julie Christie stars in the quintessential swinging sixties film, as a young woman flitting nonchalantly through London's nightlife.