Set in 1988 during the final days of the Iran-Iraq War, Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) are left on their own in their Tehran apartment when Shideh’s husband is taken away on military service. With the bloody war casting a dark shadow over their lives, the sanctuary of their family home is compromised when it appears to be haunted by evil spirits. Surrounded by terror inside and outside their house, mother and daughter are pushed to their limits as they struggle to survive.
British-based director Babak Anvari returned to the Tehran of this childhood to confront the intelligent theme of parenthood during wartime, artfully examining how the contagion of fear can breed monsters. It's an idea familiar from the Spanish-set films of Guillermo Del Toro, but presented here in a style that mixes the emotional intensity of Asghar Farhadi with the claustrophobic terror of Roman Polanski. Since its debut at Sundance 2016 Under the Shadow has been met with near universal acclaim, hailed as a modern horror classic that marks Anvari as a major talent in the making.
Horror 2020 84 mins Director: Prano Bailey-Bond
A video nasties film censor becomes absorbed in her work in Prano Bailey-Bond's brilliantly adventurous first feature.
Comedy 2018 81 mins Director: Guto Parente
The wealthy elite feed off the lower classes in a deliciously twisted Brazilian social satire that’s definitely not for the squeamish.
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.
Horror 2019 81 mins Director: Rose Glass
A mysterious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient in director Rose Glass’ divine debut.
Thriller 2018 111 mins Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank) directs this Gothic mystery, with Domhnall Gleeson as a doctor helping the heir of a haunted stately home (Ruth Wilson).
Horror 2020 66 mins Director: Rob Savage
The lockdown horror sensation from British director Rob Savage follows six friends who disturb a malevolent spirit during a Zoom séance.
Fantasy 1984 95 mins Director: Neil Jordan
Angela Carter and Neil Jordan's magical, radical take on Little Red Riding Hood.
Horror 1922 89 mins Silent Director: F.W. Murnau
This influential Dracula adaptation contains some of the most famous images of expressionist film, with a new score by Hammer composer James Bernard.
Horror 2014 101 mins Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
If you only see one Iranian vampire western this year, make sure it’s this one. A female vampire stalks a ghost town in Ana Lily Amirpour’s arresting debut.
Thriller 2015 95 mins Director: Jeremy Saulnier
A punk band becomes besieged in the backstage hideaway of a hideous neo-Nazi club, in this gloriously tense shocker from the director of Blue Ruin.
Thriller 2016 109 mins Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Bill Nighy plays the arch detective investigating a series of grisly murders around the music halls of Victorian London, in this pungent Gothic mystery.
Drama 2017 92 mins Director: David Lowery
David Lowery's haunting exploration of love and loss, with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck is a high-point of recent independent American cinema.
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.