The 400 Blows

Francois Truffaut

1959

1950’s cinema was the first to notice teenagers, albeit unrealistically handsome jawboned ones in their early 20s. Before Truffaut, no one had wanted to see the shock, joy and horror of adolescence. Jean-Pierre Leaud gives a strikingly visceral performance as the pugnacious Parisian rebel with too many causes to mention.

White God

Kornél Mundruczó

2015

A girl’s beloved dog is cast out on the streets of Budapest for being a mongrel and slowly becomes the leader of a canine revolt. The parables are obvious but this is how myths start. Stunning in its empathy, look and violence. The Incredible Journey meets Dawn of the Dead.

BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee

2018

Lee’s latest joint is the true-ish story of a black police officer infiltrating the Klan. Set in the early 1970s, earlier than the actual events, it pays humorous tribute to Blaxploitation cinema but that doesn’t sit right with the anger. However, it still remains a gripping, handsome and vital film.

A Simple Favor

Paul Feig

2018

A widow and mommy vlogger (Anna Kendrick) makes friends with a mysterious charismatic nightmare (Blake Lively) who promptly disappears. A soft farce follows with ridiculous plot twists and a pinch of satire. It could have had something to say about female friendship or trust but settles for being staggeringly okay.

The Eyes Of Orson Welles

Mark Cousins

2018

Film critic Mark Cousins’ approach to documentary is a hypnotic one. His calming northern Irish voice and his talent for spotting never seen before links quickly obsess you. Narrated as if talking to Welles this is a study of his enormous life through his underrated talent for painting and drawing.

La Chienne

Jean Renoir

1931

An early melodrama from the future cinema god tells the story of a nebbish office drone who falls in love with the wrong prostitute. La Chienne means “The Bitch” and this is not a film that loved women. It did, however, love sound design innovations and wit so there’s that.

Stan And Ollie

Jon S. Baird

2019

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly star as the greatest double-act in history as they tour post-war Britain at the end of their career. While not without its faults – it feels thin, closer to decent television than great cinema – the leads excel and the love for the subject is deafening.