A landmark of Italian neorealism often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Roberto Rossellini’s portrait of life under the Nazi Occupation remains remarkable for its sheer immediacy, tension and power.
Made in extraordinarily straitened circumstances immediately after the liberation of Rome, the film follows Manfredi (Marcello Pagliero), a partisan leader, as he attempts to evade the Gestapo by enlisting the help of Pina (Anna Magnani) fiancée of a fellow member of the underground resistance, and Don Pietro (Aldo Fabrizi), the priest due to oversee her marriage. Both Fabrizi and Magnani were well known comedic actors and perform magnificently against type. Shot both on the ravaged streets and in the studio, Rome, Open City seamlessly blends sequences reminiscent of documentary with more conventional dramatic scenes notable for their pace, precise staging and affectingly naturalistic performances. Its emotional punch remains undiminished.
War 1987 105 mins Director: Louis Malle
A French boarding-school friendship threatened by Nazi hatred in Malle's elegant tale of World War Two.
War 1974 138 mins Director: Louis Malle
It is 1944 and in rural France an eighteen-year-old finds himself caught between his job as a member of the Gestapo, and the Jewish girl he is falling in love with.
War 1989 93 mins Director: Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman's affecting vision of the horrors young men faced during the First World War.
Period drama 1964 85 mins Director: Karel Zeman
Karel Zeman's astonishing fantasy mixes live-action and animation to tell the adventures of a ploughman and a mercenery during the Thirty Years War.
War 1960 100 mins Director: Vittorio De Sica
Sophia Loren won an Oscar® for her performance as a mother trying to protect her daughter in wartime Italy, in Vittorio De Sica's neorealist classic.
War 1969 139 mins Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
A faithful adaptation of Joseph Kessel’s celebrated novel about the French Resistance, this is also Melville’s most profoundly personal film.
Drama 1982 181 mins Director: Ingmar Bergman
Bergman’s magisterial and sumptuous portrait of a 20th-century Swedish family.
Comedy 2008 237 mins Director: Sion Sono
Japanese cinema's enfant terrible, Sion Sono, unleashes this demented, whirlwind tale of cults, love, violence and perversion.
Drama 2008 96 mins Director: Bernard Rose
Bernard Rose updates Tolstoy's tale about the corrupting power of sex and jealousy, with Danny Huston as the wealthy husband of a beautiful, famous pianist (Elisabeth Röhm).
Documentary 2018 73 mins Director: Sean McAllister
Acclaimed filmmaker Sean McAllister (A Syrian Love Story) returns to his hometown of Hull to profile local resident Steve Arnott, a struggling warehouse worker who harbours his own creative dream of breaking into hip-hop.
Drama 1961 122 mins Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece stars Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau as a couple re-examining their emotional bonds.
Comedy 1932 72 mins Director: James Whale
A group of weary travellers arrive at a spooky mansion with a madman on the loose, in this classic horror-comedy from James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein)
Drama 2010 109 mins Director: Joanna Hogg
Starring Tom Hiddleston, a family holiday to the Isles of Scilly sees fractures emerge in this sun-filled drama from Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir).
Drama 2013 105 mins Director: Joanna Hogg
Joanna Hogg's sleek and minimalist comedy about a pair of artists and their emotional attachment to their ultra-modernist apartment.
Drama 2006 105 mins Director: Krzysztof Krauze
Timely slice of social realism following a family forced to stay in a cramped relative's flat and the eruption of tensions that ensue.
Drama 2011 94 mins Director: Wojciech Smarzowski
Agata Kulesza (Ida) won the Polish Academy Award for Best Actress for this devastating tale of wartime survival and shared trauma.
Thriller 2018 102 mins Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s follow up to The Lure (2015) is an unsettling, gripping psychodrama about a woman trying to rebuild her family life after two years' absence with severe memory loss.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2020 88 mins Director: Mariusz Wilczynski
This nightmarish, haunting and beautifully poetic animation is a deeply personal tale from self-taught animator Mariusz Wilczyński that was 15 years in the making.