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A lone female vampire stalks the nocturnal streets of a decaying ghost town, searching for prey. One of the town’s residents is Arash, who through a series of events involving his junkie father, a prostitute and a drug-dealing pimp, encounters the enigmatic bloodsucker and an unlikely love story begins to unfold.
Although set in the fictional Iranian town of Bad City, Ana Lily Amirpour’s arresting debut was shot in California, the story adapted from its previous incarnations as a graphic novel and short film. With its stark black and white photography, Jarmusch-esque deadpan humour and memorable images of a hijab-clad bloodsucker skateboarding the streets, Amirpour’s film is a superbly ambitious exercise in style and atmosphere. If you only see one Iranian vampire western this year, make sure it’s this one.
Horror 1960 90 mins Director: Georges Franju
Georges Franju’s gorgeous, poetic horror film about a surgeon’s dark obsession with restoring his daughter’s disfigured face.
Horror 1974 83 mins Director: Tobe Hooper
Unrivalled in its relentless vision of pure terror, Tobe Hooper’s horror masterpiece remains as brutal and horrific as it ever was.
Horror 1976 91 mins Director: David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg’s classic outbreak horror introduces us to a young woman (Marilyn Chambers) who hungers for human blood after an experimental plastic surgery goes wrong.
Horror 2009 104 mins Director: Lars von Trier
After tragedy strikes, a couple retreat to a cabin in the woods in order to grieve. However, they find things go from bad to worse, in this brutal interrogation of nature from Lars von Trier.
Horror 1979 107 mins Director: Werner Herzog
English language version of Herzog’s stimulating take on the Dracula story starring Klaus Kinski, with echoes of Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu.
Comedy 2014 86 mins Director: Taika Waititi
An achingly funny mockumentary about New Zealand’s hitherto unknown vampire (and werewolf) communities, from the creators of Flight of the Conchords.
Most Popular Films of 2021
Documentary 2019 95 mins Director: Zed Nelson
The working-class community of Hoxton Street face the upheavals of gentrification, austerity and the eruption of Brexit, in this portrait of a rapidly changing London.
Drama 2020 90 mins Director: Aleem Khan
In this knockout feature debut from filmmaker Aleem Khan, Joanna Scanlan is superb as a woman left reeling upon discovering her late husband’s secrets. Winner of six BIFAs.
Drama 2020 89 mins Director: Bassam Tariq
Bassam Tariq’s visceral directorial debut, co-written with Riz Ahmed, finds a British-Pakistani rapper’s life spiralling out of control when, on the cusp of success, he succumbs to a debilitating illness.
Drama 1995 98 mins Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Mathieu Kassovitz’s landmark mid-90s drama throws a cinematic Molotov cocktail at structural racism, police brutality and media manipulation.
Drama 2019 90 mins Director: Henry Blake
Blistering thriller of a teen groomed to work for a brutal, organised drugs network.
Thriller 2001 142 mins Director: David Lynch
David Lynch’s beautifully baffling, surreal psychological thriller.
Action and Adventure 2015 124 mins Director: Ciro Guerra
The spirit of Werner Herzog and Apocalypse Now imbue this majestic Oscar-nominated odyssey through the heart of the Amazon.
Drama 1986 185 mins Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Jean-Jacques Beineix’s story of a volatile, highly sexual relationship was one of the most successful French films of the 1980s.
Non-Fiction 1924 87 mins Director: J.B.L. Noel
Premiere. A breathtaking and poignant account of the valiant 1924 British assault on the awe-inspiring peak, beautifully restored by the BFI.
Drama 2019 88 mins Director: Delphine Lehericey
Under the relentless summer sun, Gus’s childhood is coming to an end as the long-awaited thunderstorms sweep across the exhausted countryside, taking a whole world with them in Delphine Lehericey sizzling rural coming-of-age drama.
Documentary 2020 89 mins Director: David Dufresne
As anger and resentment grows in the face of social inequalities during the Yellow Vests movement in France, many citizen-led protests are being repressed with ever-increasing police violence.
Documentary 2020 109 mins Director: Philippe Béziat
By bringing together urban dance and opera singing, 30 hip-hop, krump, break, voguing dancers reinvent Jean-Philippe Rameau's baroque masterpiece, Les Indes Galantes.