The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie

Luis Buñuel

1972

All these six friends want to do is sit down and eat a meal but fate has other plans. This is an angry absurdist punch in the kidney of the upper-middle-class and, almost certainly us, the audience. Here is a witty and gently surreal grandfather to Yorgos Lanthimos films.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Shinya Tsukamoto

1989

A sweaty and oily story of revenge and turning into a libidinous metal monster answers the question: What would Meshes In The Afternoon look like if a drunk David Cronenberg directed it? The production was amateur and fractious and that comes across on screen but this is the Japanese Eraserhead.

The Sisters Brothers

Jacques Audiard

2018

John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix play Charles and Eli Sisters, hired killers, hunting, hunted and haunted. Stunning in many ways but there’s an almost-ness about it. It’s almost tragic, almost hilarious and almost surreal. And while thankfully not another ironic Western, (about three is enough) its desires stay vague.

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Thom Andersen

2004

An essay on the city of Los Angeles and how cinema and more precisely “Hollywood” has portrayed and betrayed it. Long but always interesting, Andersen uses hundreds of clips from famous and obscure films to make his occasionally prickly case. You will never call it L.A. again. Only haters abbreviate.

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

Steve Sullivan

2019

This is a kind-hearted and funny documentary about the man inside Frank Sidebottom. The love people have for Sievey is catching so the melancholic feeling at the end is inevitable. He was an artist who didn’t appreciate he was one but make no mistake, he was the Titian of Timperley.

Alps

Yorgos Lanthimos

2011

A nurse is a member of a group who, for a fee, re-enact the lives of the dead to help the grieving process. It is the same cold soup of deadpan humour with sudden violence of its sister Dogtooth. Similarly, things start to go wrong when empathy appears. Stupid empathy.

The Vanishing

Kristoffer Nyholm

2019

Three lighthouse keepers find death and gold in the Outer Hebrides. Inspired by but not based on true events, this film could have gone anywhere but chooses to slowly focus on guilt. Nicely shot and acted – Peter Mullan is incapable of being merely adequate – frustratingly, it’s just massively fine.